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French Classical Romances 

Complete in Twenty Crown Octavo Volumes 
Editor-in- Chiet 


With Critical Introductions and Interpretative Essays by 












Notre Dame 
de Paris 










Perhaps only two great poets have been great novel- 
ists, Sir Walter Scott and Victor Hugo. If any one likes 
to say that Scott is a great novelist, but only a consider- 
able poet, I fear I might be tempted to retort, quite 
unjustly, that Hugo is a great poet, but only a consid- 
erable novelist. However, I am unwilling to draw invidi- 
ous distinctions. In all Hugo's vast volume of work, 
poetry, satire, fiction, the drama, I am inclined to think 
that his lyrics have most of the stuff of immortality: 
imperishable charm. In his lyrics he is most human, 
most "like a man of this world"; or, what is as good, 
an angel " singing out of heaven." In his dramas, and 
still more in his novels, on the other hand, he is less 
human than "Titanic." He is a good Titan, like Pro- 
metheus, tortured by the sense of human miseries, and 
uttering his laments as if from the crest of a gorge in 
Caucasus. Hugo's poignant sense of the wretchedness 
of men, above all of the poor, is not unfelt by Scott; 
but how does he express it? In the brief words of 
Sanders Mucklebackit, as he patches the " auld black bitch 
o' a boat," in which his son has just been drowned. 
Again, and more terribly, he gives voice to the degrada- 
tion, the consuming envy, the hatred of the mauvais 
pauvre, in the talk of the ghoul-like attendants of the 
dead, the hags and the witch of Tlie Bride of Lammer- 
moor. Human beings speak as human beings — in the 
A V Vol. 4 

Victor Hugo's Novels 

second case, almost as devils — but these scenes are sel- 
dom presented in the happy stoical pages of Sir Walter. 
A favourite motive of Hugo's is the maternal passion of 
a woman otherwise socially lost — Paquerette or Fantine. 
Her child is taken from her, and we all weep, or nearly 
weep, with those unhappy ones. But the idea had also 
been handled by Scott, in the story of Madge Wildfire, 
distraught like Paquerette. " Naebody kens weel wha's 
living, and wha's dead — or wha's gane to Fairyland — 
there's another question. Whiles I think my puir bairn's 
dead — ye ken very weel it's buried — but that signifies 
naething. I have had it on my knee a hundred times, 
and a hundred till that, since it was buried — and how could 
that be were it dead, ye ken." Madge with her wild 
chants is not less poetical than Fantine, to whose sor- 
rows Hugo adds a poignancy and a grotesque horror 
which Scott had it not in his heart to inflict. 

Hugo's novels, especially Les Miserables, U Homme 
Qui Rit, and parts of Notre-Dame de Paris, are the shrill 
or thunderous otototofoi's of the tortured Titan. They are 
apocalyptic in grandeur, but they are grand with little 
relief, or with the relief of what may appear too conscious 
and extreme contrast. The charm, the gaiety, the innu- 
merable moods that make music throughout his lyrics 
are less common in his novels. If there is relief, it is 
poignant in the pathos of childhood, or contemptible, as 
in the empty-headed Phoebus de Chateaupers, or the noisy 
students of Notre-Dame de Paris. 

Scott sees the world of sunshine and of rain, green 
wood,, and loch and moor, and blowing fields of corn. 
Hugo beholds the world as if in the flashes of lightning 
and the pauses of the tempest. He sees everything mag- 
nified " larger than human," and he is Titanically deficient 
in the sweet humour of Shakespeare and Fielding, Dumas, 


Victor Hugo's Novels 

and Moliere. Thus unfriendly critics, and of these he 
has had no lack, might style his novels gigantesque, rather 
than great. His humpbacked, bell-ringing dwarf is like a 
colossal statue of the cruel Dwarf-God, found in Yucatan 
or old Anahuac. Quasimodo is, in some regards, like 
Quilp seen through an enormous magnifying glass, and 
Quilp himself was sufficiently exaggerated. Had ^schy- 
lus written novels, they would have been tame and creep- 
ing compared to those of Hugo. Yet he is not a mere 
exaggerator, one of the popular demoniacs who work as 
if in the flare and roar of a boiler-factory. He is a great 
genius, full of tenderness and poetry. To be superhuman 
is his foible. I used the comparison with ^schylus, while 
unaware that Hugo (who certainly knew his own merits 
fairly well) had used it himself. "It is no vain vaunt of 
the modern masters," says Mr. Swinburne, " that he has 
given us in another guise one of these ^schylean women, 
a monstrous goddess, whose tone of voice ' gave a sort 
of Promethean grandeur to her furious and amorous 
words,' who had in her the tragic and Titanic passion 
of the women of the Eleusinian feasts ' seeking the 
satyrs under the stars.' " All the mythologist awakes in 
me, to inquire on what ancient authority the women of 
Athens are said to have misconducted themselves with 
satyrs at Eleusis? Josiane, in Hugo's U Homme Qui Rit, 
is a lady of that sort, but I do not remember her Eleusinian 
prototypes in Lobeck's Aglaophanus, and I am inclined to 
think that Hugo invented this interesting detail. 

Victor Hugo was the son of a revolutionary ofificer 
and a lady of a bourgeois royalist family. He wished to 
think himself " noble," and everybody who has looked 
into genealogy knows that we can easily persuade our- 
selves of our own noblesse. The world is less easily per- 
suaded. King Joseph, at all events, made Hugo's father 


Victor Hugo's Novels 

as much of a Spanish noble as Napoleon could make 
Joseph a king, and he was put to a monkish school in 
Madrid among little mortal Spanish enemies. He and 
his mother retreated before Wellesley to France. His 
education was much more royalist than Christian: as he 
matured he became much more Christian than royalist, 
and, at last, a revolutionary. When Hugo left school, 
he had written abundant verse as a school-boy, and had 
even been honourably mentioned for an Academy prize 
poem. Chateaubriand was then his model, Chateaubriand 
of the sonorous and sepulchral eloquence. Other prize 
poems he actually won, and he and his brother edited a 
literary journal when at an age still tender. His Odes 
(1822) are still in what he came to think the gall of 
classicaUsm. His marriage occurred in the year of this, his 
first book. 

Not classical is the hero of his Han d'Islande (1823), 
a kind of Icelandic Sawny Bean. • Hugo had already 
perused The Tales of My Landlord (in French, of course), 
and already in Han dTslande was dipped deeper in the 
horrid than Scott became in the decrepitude of Castle 
Dangerous. Few readers now imbrue themselves in 
blood, with Han; but the author, perhaps, was not in 
earnest. His last chapter is headed Ce que f avals fait 
par plaisanterie, vous Vavez pris serieusement. We need 
not take Han seriously: still his horrors portend Quasi- 
modo and later monsters of the poet's fancy. As lightly 
we may pass the sable hero (who would have horrified 
Rymer) of Bug Jar gal (1826). There is in this tale a 
strongly built hunchbacked character foreshadowing 

Hugo's ambition was now to improve on Scott, by 
adding to that novelist's manner an element of the poetic, 
of Homer. As regards poetry, it is hard to excel the 


Victor Hugo's Novels 

creator of Madge Wildfire, the painter of Queen Mary. 
We need not recapitulate the old history of the French 
Romantic movement. Hugo was a leader of that fertile 
and eccentric renaissance — a leader by virtue of his lyrics 
and his plays. The names and parts of Musset, Gautier, 
Sainte-Beuve, and the great Alexandre Dumas; the war 
over Hugo's play, Hernani, are among the things most 
familiar and most amusing in the history of literature. 

In 1829, in Le Dernier Jour d'nn Condamnc, Hugo 
expressed his lifelong and oft-repeated horror of capital 
punishment. The hero may well say, with De Quincey: 
" Many a man owes his ruin to a murder of which, per- 
haps, he thought little enough at the time." But the 
repugnant necessity of capital punishment is allowed to 
exist, just to make amiable and impulsive characters think 
a good deal of a murder " at the time," or rather, before 
the time. Hugo was moved by the most sincere human- 
ity; but others are not inhuman because they are inter- 
ested rather in the possible victims of the criminal than 
in the criminal himself. 

After the Lilies were driven from France in the days 
of July, 1830, Hugo wrote, at a great pace, his first fa- 
mous novel, Nofre-Dame de Paris. There was need of 
hurry, owing to an imprudent covenant to deliver the 
" copy " by a given date. For some five months the 
author was a recluse, working all day. Possibly he had 
to " read up his subject " as well as to write. The traces 
of " reading up " historical and antiquarian details for his 
purpose are, I think, apparent. In several of his novels 
he is too apt to fortify his position by historical citations. 
His knowledge of old Paris and its architecture was, how- 
ever, already acquired. His indignation at " improve- 
ment," scraping, whitewash, restoration, and the other 
crimes of our age, is constantly uttered: vainly, such iso- 


Victor Hugo's Novels 

lated protests are always vain. At Oxford, St. Andrews, 
and Cambridge, as in Paris, we see what the ignorant 
indifference of even learned corporations, and the bland 
stupidity of modern architects can do, and hungers to be 
doing, on whatever relics of the old and the beautiful are 
yet undestroyed. 

Hugo began Notre-Damc, in the circumstances natu- 
rally, with dogged and gloomy desire to finish a task. 
This it may be which renders the initial chapters, the 
vast descriptions of people, crowds, street scenes, ambas- 
sadors, the Cardinal, and the rest, rather prolix. But when 
once Esmeralda, Claude Frollo, and Quasimodo appear, 
the story races on. Gringoire, the typical poet, concen- 
trated in the fiasco of his own play, while every other 
person is more than indifferent, has humour and is sympa- 
thetic. But Gringoire following Esmeralda and her goat; 
Quasimodo divinized in burlesque, a Pope of Unreason, 
yet tickled, for once, in his vanity; Esmeralda, a pearl on the 
dunghill, dancing and singing; the empty, easily conquer- 
ing Phoebus; the mad and cruel love of the priest, Claude 
Frollo — when these are reached, the stor}'^ lives, burns, and 
rushes to its awful portentous close. " Rushes," I said, but 
the current is broken, and dammed into long pools, mir- 
rors of a motionless past, in all editions except the first. 
Hugo, as he tells us, lost three of his chapters, and pub- 
lished the first edition without them. Two of them were 
the studies of mediseval architecture, which interfere with 
the action. However excellent in themselves (intended, 
as they are, to raise a vision of the Paris of Louis XI), 
these chapters, introduced just where the author has 
warmed to his work and the tale is accumulating impe- 
tus, are possibly out of place. We grumble at Scott's 
longueurs: the first chapter of Quentin Durzvard is an 
historical essay. But Hugo certainly had not mastered 


Victor Hugo's Novels 

the art of selection and conciseness. His excursus on 
architecture is admirable, but imprudent. 

These chapters, however, are the natural blossoms of 
the devotion to the mediaeval which inspired the Romantic 
movement. Every poetic Jean was then a Jehan. Ru- 
dolph carried his bon dagiie de Tolede, and, when George 
Sand dined at a restaurant, her virtue was protected 
from tyrants by an elegant dagger. The architecture 
of the Middle Ages, the spires, and soaring roofs, and 
flying buttresses, and machicolations, were the passion of 

The interest, before the architectural interruption, lay 
in the chase of Esmeralda by Gringoire; in the beggar- 
world, with its king and gibbet, like the Alsatia of the 
Fortunes of Nigel vastly magnified. The underworld of 
Paris, that for centuries has risen as the foam on the wave 
of revolution, fascinated Hugo. The hideous and terrible 
aspect of these grotesques he could scarcely exaggerate. 
It is urged that Esmeralda, a finer Fenella — a success, not 
a failure — could not have been bred and blossomed in her 
loathsome environment. The daughter of a woman utterly 
lost, till redeemed by the maternal passion, Esmeralda 
must have gone the way of her world. But it is Hugo's 
method to place a marvellous flower of beauty, grace, and 
goodness on his fiimier. The method is not realism; it 
is a sacrifice to the love of contrast. In short, this is the 
" probable impossible " which Aristotle preferred to the 
" improbable impossible "; and the reader who yields him- 
self to the author has no dif^culty in accepting Esmeralda 
and the heart-breaking story of her mother. Claude Frollo 
demands and receives the same acceptance, with his fra- 
ternal affection, his disbelief in all but the incredible prom- 
ises of alchemy, his furious passion, and fury of resistance 
to his passion. Whether Esmeralda is made more credi- 


Victor Hugo's Novels 

ble by her love of Phoebus, which proves her bane, is a 
question. That love strikes one as a touch of realism, 
an idea that Thackeray might have conceived, perhaps 
relenting, and rejecting the profanation. Whether the 
motive clashes or not with the romanticism of Esmeralda's 
part, we may excuse it by the ruling and creative word 
of the romance — 'ANATKH — Doom. 

On one essential point Hugo certainly does not exag- 
gerate. The trial of Esmeralda is merely the common 
procedure in cases of witchcraft. With the evidence of 
the goat, the withered leaf, and the apparition of the 
mysterious monk against her, there was no escape. Thou- 
sands were doomed to a horrible death (in Scotland till 
the beginning of the eighteenth century) on evidence less 
damning. The torture applied to Esmeralda is that with 
which Jeanne d'Arc was threatened, escaping only by her 
courage and presence of mind. For the rest, the Maid 
endured more, and worse, and longer than Esmeralda, 
from the pedantic and cowardly cruelty of the French 
clergy of the age. One point might be perhaps urged 
against the conduct of the story. The Inquisition spared 
the life of the penitent sorceress, in Catholic countries, 
though Presbyterian judges were less merciful than the 
Inquisition. Esmeralda, who confessed to witcheries, 
under torture, would as readily have recanted her errors. 
It does not appear why she was hanged. If executed for 
witchcraft, it would have been by fire; and obviously she 
had not murdered Phoebus, who led the archers at the 
rescue of the Cathedral from the beggars. That scene 
is one of the most characteristic in the book, lit by flame 
and darkened by smoke. The ingenuity by which the 
mother of Esmeralda is made to help in causing her 
destruction, blinded as she is by 'ANAFKH, is one of 
Hugo's cruel strokes of stage-craft. The figure of such 

• • 


Victor Hugo's Novels 

a mother, bankrupt of everything in life but the maternal 
passion, haunted Hugo, and recurs in Fantine. The most 
famous scene of all, vivid as with the vividness of a de- 
spairing dream, is the agony of the accursed priest as 
he swings from the leaden pipe on the roof of Notre- 
Dame. Once read the retribution is never forgotten — the 
picture of the mad lover and murderer swaying in air; 
death below; above, the one flaming eye of the monstrous 

The portrait of Louis XI, as compared with Scott's 
of the same King, has been Hkened to a Velasquez as 
vastly superior to a Vandyke. To myself, Scott's Louis 
appears rather to resemble a Holbein; Hugo's to be com- 
parable to a miser by Rembrandt. But such comparisons 
and parallels are little better than fanciful. I find myself, 
as regards the whole book, sometimes rather in agreement 
with the extravagantly hostile verdict of Goethe — never, 
indeed, persuaded that Notre-Dame is " the most odious 
book ever written," but feeling that the agonies are too 
many, too prolonged, and too excruciating, the contrasts 
too violent. Strength alone, even when born of the 
Muses, has the defects which Keats notes in one of his 
earliest poems. 

When, after an interval of twenty-five years given to 
poetry and poHtics, Victor Hugo returned to prose 
romance, his new book, Les Miserables, was not absolutely 
new. It was a canvas that had for some time been worked 
upon; but the picture, or procession of pictures, was com- 
pleted in the leisure of exile at Hauteville House. The 
book is a prose epic, of Indian size, the Mahabharata and 
Ramayana alone compare, with it in extent. The epic 
is of social damnation: "What man has done to man," 
and, in some degree, of social redemption. Ignorance, 
poverty, greed, hate, lovelessness, are redeemed, and may 


Victor Hugo's Novels 

be redeemed by love and will. As usual, the book is 
replete with episodes and excursions. The episode of 
Waterloo is no more necessary, though infinitely more 
interesting, than the divagations into the history of medi- 
aeval architecture and mediaeval Parisian monuments. The 
lost and famished mother reappeais. Hugo's love of chil- 
dren again expresses itself in passages tender and poign- 
ant. A new but less cursed Quasimodo is at war with 
society, but not with the Church which saves him. The 
book is rich in pages which a child can read with breath- 
less interest. The virtuous convict, Jean Valjean, arouses 
suspicion in the sceptical. Five years of the galleys; and, 
as usual, for the most innocent of thefts, a loaf of bread! 
To be sure, he also broke a window, and we know the 
atrocity of the laws of the period. Still, the loaf of bread 
is a little conventional, like the frogs which the virtuous 
peasant always passes the night in silencing, in the open- 
ings of novels about the French Revolution. We must 
regard the theft of the loaf as '' common form," as the 
recognised way of leading up to the convict of excellent 
principles, but embittered by the cruelty of society. Jean 
certainly had grounds enough to turn a man into a wolf. 
The Bishop whose plate he steals, and who practically 
converts him, is a delightful character. The plate belonged 
to the poor; Jean was poor, therefore Jean owned the plate, 
The logic was seraphic, and the fib by which the Bishop 
secures Jean's release might have seemed to Plato " a 
noble lie." We love the Bishop, but should we imitate 

There is a parallel in real life. In 1874, the Bishop 
of Rodez had to expostulate with a cure named Boudes. 
The cure was at war with society: he had begun by steal- 
ing candlesticks, but society had not locked him up, 
unluckily. His cloth protected him. *' My poor Mon- 


Victor Hugo's Novels 

sieur le Cure," wrote the mild and charitable prelate, " you 
are accused: 

" I. Of neglecting your breviary. 

" 2. Of repeated thefts of the fees for special masses, 
my poor cure. 

" 3. Of neglecting to confess yourself. 

"4. Of infamous behaviour; your constant practice, it 
would seem. 

"5. Of habitual acts of arson, wilful fire-raising. 

" 6. There are more awful rumours still, in which I 
decline to believe." 

The Bishop of Rodez therefore suggested that the poor 
cure had better go to some other parish. But he stayed, 
and murdered the Abbe Alvar in his bed. Society bru- 
tally condemned him to penal servitude for life.* Now 
we love the mansuetude of the Bishop of Rodez, who 
had probably read Les Miserables. But we must hesitate 
to applaud his conduct, considering its results. 

Our gross British common sense will keep muttering 
these cavils. Nor British sense alone: when I was young, 
and in France for the first time, I chanced to be at dinner 
in a provincial hotel, and to be conversing with an intel- 
ligent citizen. I asked him what he thought of Victor 

" Monsieur, c'est un fou," said the citizen; which greatly 
disconcerted me. 

But the voice of cavil is hushed by the extraordinary- 
vision and genius of the chapter where Jean robs petit 
Gervais, where the beast conquers the man, and the man, 
awaking, reconquers the beast. The story of the cruelty 
of Tholomyes, as much worse than Phoebus as he is less 
stupid, and of the sorrows of Fantine, is almost too poign- 

* Irving, Studies of Fretich Criminals, pp. 1 18-124. 


Victor Hugo's Novels 

ant, and might waken tears less of pity than of impotent 

On the other hand, the judicial faculties of the mind 
arise against Valjean in his second state sublime. He 
had been a poacher and a rural man of all work, ime 
cspcce d'idiof, he says, till he was about twenty-eight. He 
went into the galleys: he was hard on fifty when he robbed 
the Bishop. Then he invented an improved scientific 
method of making imitation jet, enriched his town, en- 
riched himself, collected a library, and lectured on the 
place of nettles in economics. Nettles, properly consid- 
ered, are as valuable as the cocoa-tree. Where did he 
get his technical and literary education? Are the galleys 
so instructive? It is not a novel that we are reading; it 
is an allegorical epic in prose. As for Javert, " wolf-son 
of a dog," the Guardian of Order, Hugo says that the 
mystic school of Joseph de Alaistre would have called 
him " a symbol." And a symbol he is, a symbol of the 
hard blind engine of law. " The law says nothing about 
not having known, not having intended: that is the pa- 
thetic part of it," says a hero of Mr. Gilbert's. Of this 
law, Javert is the symbol: they are all symbols, as much 
as the people in The Pilgrinis Progress. It is in per- 
forming an act of mercy requiring the thews of a Porthos, 
that Valjean is recognised by Javert's symbol! 

Another symbol is Mme. Victurinen, the dragoness 
guardian of virtue; we call her Mrs. Grundy. Thanks 
to her, poor Fantine is driven out of Valj can's factory. 
The Bishop set a better example. Valjean himself was 
not the judge in Fantine's case, but he had appointed 
the judge, an old maid, devoid of charity. Here Valjean 
zijas Society. As Society he drove Fantine to sell her 
hair, her teeth, everything. Even a virtuous convict, once 
he becomes a capitalist, becomes Society, and Javert 


Victor Hugo's Novels 

pounces on Fantine. Valjean is redeemed by delivering 
himself to justice, to save a scoundrel accused of his 
own old crime, the robbery of petit Gervais. Fantine dies; 
Valjean, escaped from prison, protects her child Cosette. 
But he cannot educate her — " // n'etait qit'un vieiix homme 
qui ne savait rien de tout" Yet, as niaire, as inventor, as 
capitalist, he had accumulated a library, had read hard, 
and had been edifying about nettles. These things, in 
an ordinary novel, would be fatal; but Les Miserables is 
not an ordinary novel. It is an epic, ^nd the discrepan- 
cies of ancient epic have convinced most critics that they 
are the patchwork of many hands in many ages. The 
theory fails, for Les Miserables is entirely by Hugo. It 
is not in consistency of construction that it excels, but in 
the ideal splendour of the master's genius, in the pity, the 
pathos, the aspiration, the episodes, such as the Aristeia 
of Gavroche, the childhood of Cosette. 

How epic is the Waterloo! The British squares are 
not squares; they are volcanoes. The Cuirassiers are not 
cavalry; they are a tempest. The Highlander, as he falls, 
" remembers Ben Lothian " (that towers above the Pass 
of Brander), as the dying Greek remembers Argos. Ar- 
riving an hour later, 'tis a Prussian who says so, Blucher 
would have found Wellington defeated. He was defeated, 
says Dumas, an hour before Blucher arrived. However, 
he did not know it, and uttered the famous much-disputed 
speech — Debout, Gardes, et visez juste! — " Up, Guards, and 
take accurate aim! " 

If a number of things had happened quite otherwise 
than they did, Hugo assures us, Napoleon would have 
won at Waterloo. And there can be no doubt that he 
is right. There is a library of literature about Waterloo, 
a maze of contradictory accounts. The certainty is that 
the Prussians, thanks to loyal Bliicher, insured the French 


Victor Hugo's Novels 

defeat. The probability is that, without Bliicher, the field 
would have been drawn. But both Dumas and Hugo 
write without rancour, with generous recognition of hos- 
tile valour, like gentlemen of France. 

Lcs Miserablcs is the richest and noblest example of 
Hugo's romantic vein. Lcs Travailleurs de la Mer de- 
clares its aim in the prefatory words. " Religion, Society, 
Nature: such are the three wars of man," the *' triple 
necessity": with the fourth form of Fate, the heart of 
man. Notre-Dame described the struggle with Religion; 
Lcs Miserablcs, the struggle with Society; Lcs Travail- 
leurs, the struggle with Nature. The three romances 
thus form a trilogy, on the Greek tragic model. It is only 
in the idea that things can be separated thus: the war with 
Nature is an element in the struggle of society: and 
the human heart, of course, will have a stroke in every 
battle. The religion of the age gives us Villon's ballade 
for his mother, and Jeanne d'Arc. The heart of man gives 
us the cruel superstition, fatal to Esmeralda as to Jeanne. 
When the hearts are that of a flirt like Deruchette, who 
writes a young man's name in the snow for him to read 
as he follows her; and of a man like poor Gilliatt of the 
haunted house; and when she is to be won by conflict 
with Nature — the sea, and its monsters — then Tragedy 
is assured. Haunted houses, the Psychical Researchers 
learn with emotion, are not uncommon in Guernsey. We 
applaud Gilliatt, who dared to live in one of these " centres 
of the permanent possibility of hallucination " at the risk 
or certainty of being deemed a sorcerer. This man will 
blench at nothing. The manifold causes of Gilliatt's un- 
popularity are given with pleasant and profound irony. 
A man who said to a curate, that the vault of heaven 
was his parish, and who played the " bug-pipe," might 
be unpopular in other circles than that of small, super- 


Victor Hugo's Novels 

stitious Guernsey. GilHatt, the dreamer and bug-piper, 
the solitary and strange, was born to be distrusted, as 
Deruchette, whom Hugo describes with all the charm of 
his own sweet lyrics, was born to attract and betray. 
When a fair young curate appears, " crowned with locks 
of gold, girl-faced, with pure eyes," and a white neck-tie, 
we forbode the end, though the young clergyman is named 
Ebenezer. The novel, much more strictly a novel, with 
a plot, sequence, unity of action, than Les Miserahles, fol- 
lows the naif line of the Mdrchen or popular tale. There 
is a great adventure to be achieved: the Princess Deru- 
chette, who wrote Gilliatt's name in the cold, false, fleet- 
ing snow, offers her hand to the successful adventurer, 
the man who rescues the machinery of the submerged 
steamer. Gilliatt girds himself for the adventure. He 
triumphs over the tempest of Ocean. All Immensity cry- 
ing with all her voices, hurls herself against him in vain. 
" Clamours, clarions, calls, all the cries of all the Ocean," 
do not triumph over him. The artillery of the sky leaves 
him unscathed: purple, and phosphorus, and bHnding 
night, and blinding light, and cavalry charges of the 
waves, appal him not. " Gilliatt semblait n'y pas faire 
attention." He answers each thunder-clap with a stroke 
of his hammer. The destined Prince of the fairy-tale 
could do no more. 

There is a fairy-tale, in Roumanian, where the hero 
fights an awful shapeless form, the Welwa: "it had a 
head that was not a head," it became darkness itself, then 
reappeared the head which was not a head, the shape 
which was many shapes — and shape had none. After vic- 
tory this hero, against the custom of fairy-tales, is de- 
ceived and slain by his brothers, who take his reward. 
Unconsciously Hugo follows this legend. His pienvre is 
the Welwa: I do not know whether natural history au- 


Victor Hugo's Novels 

thenticates the pieuzre; but she is described with a won- 
derful effort of the primitive imagination. She it was, no 
doubt, who horrified us by seizing Clobin by the foot, 
when he dived with his ill-gotten gains. She is terrible 
as the monster Grendel, of the Beowulf epic: a spider in 
form, a chameleon in colour, and " horror of horrors, she 
is soft! " Ce dragon est un sensitive. She is probably 
identical with Homer's Scylla, that sucked down with 
each of her heads one of the companions of Odysseus. 
Only Hugo would have cast this primitive terror for a 
part in a novel of Guernsey life in the nineteenth century. 
The loathsome picuvre is the Quasimodo of the deep, with- 
out any of his redeeming qualities. " To be hideous is 
to hate." The picuvre is hideous and unfriendly. She is 
a shadow of a shadow, a fold of the drapery of the vague. 
She is " the Glutinous inspired by Will "; she shines saint- 
Uke in the darkness; she floats, she swims, she walks on 
eight feet — boneless, bloodless, fleshless, *' a pneumatic 

Such was the creature whose eyes were fixed on Gil- 
liatt! Her eyes, and two hundred and fifty of her suckers. 
There is no more terrible combat in epic, romance, or 
fairy-tale, to all of which the novel has afifinities. The 
end is easily forecast: we need scarcely look to the last 
page to see whether Deruchette is false or true, or for 
whom the marriage-bells are ringing, or who wears the 
bridal raiment that the dead mother left to Gilliatt's bride. 
'ANAFKH. Man conquers Nature, but is defeated by 
the human heart. The Giant Oueller is deserted; the 
linnet-like Deruchette flits with another mate to another 
bough; the hull of the bark that- bears them dips below the 
horizon; the head of Gilliatt sinks beneath the waves. 

Fielding's novels are human: Scott's are human, and 
in a way, something more, being historical they embrace 


Victor Hugo's Novels 

man in the present and the past. Stevenson, when he 
was very young, in one of his earhest critical essays, 
remarked that the gulf between Fielding and Scott is 
not so wide as that between Scott and Hugo. His ro- 
mances are not of the world, but of the cosmos. Men 
and women, lover and lass, are not so much the persons 
of the play as are the great contending principles of human 
existence, the strife of Eris and Eros. Indeed, it was 
Hugo's express design to write what one may call cosmic 
romance. L'Homme Qui Rit represents the great strife 
of Aristocracy and Democracy. For reasons not too obvi- 
ous the time is the reign of Queen Anne, the scene is 
England, which Hugo was born to misunderstand with 
really colossal ingenuity. The strife of principles is inev- 
itably represented by symbols, Ursus, Gwynplaine (the 
Man with the Laugh), and these symbols live in a world 
that never existed. It may be argued that only the pedant 
is vexed by such trifles as Shakespeare's Bohemia, with 
its sea-board, and by the England of the Augustan Age, 
in L'Homme Qui Rit, and by Scott's Amy Robsart, 
rearisen from a tomb where she has lain for a dozen 
years, to meet a poet Shakespeare, who, in fact, had not 
yet written a line. But Hugo's errors are of a wilder 
kind, and, unlike Scott's, unconscious. " Yeddburg " 
gives us pause at once — probably Yeddburg is Jedburgh. 
The Commons, in Parliament, are the People — " Les com- 
munes, qui sont le peuple." In France almost all our Com- 
mons of the age would have been " noble." Lord Lin- 
naeus Clancharlie, that rigid Republican peer, seems the 
intentional creation of burlesque. His bastard is, " by 
courtesy," entitled Lord David Dirry-Moir, and the plot 
turns on this extraordinary misconception. The " bird 
Krag " is more mythical than the Roc or the Phoenix. 
The police magistrate, the Javert of the period, is " the 


Victor Hugo's Novels 

Wapentake." James II was not the best, and was deserv- 
edly the least popular of our modern kings; but the mon- 
strous private crime invented for him would have shocked 
the conscience of a Warming-Pan pamphleteer. For 
Hugo's purpose, and with his love of the grotesquely ter- 
rible, a monster was needed, as a symbol of what an aris- 
tocracy, never of the French type, had done to the people. 
No doubt Hugo firmly believed that when gentle King 
Jamie wrote Corpora et bona suhjectorum nostra sunt, he 
was claiming the right which his grandson, in the novel, 
executes. Next poor Queen Anne se donne la comedie, 
and takes part in these impossible abominations. It is 
not easy, it is hardly possible for a Briton, however igno- 
rant of history, to read L'Homme Qui Rit with the respect 
which the genius of the author ought to command. The 
ocean may become " father and mother of an orphan," " a 
panther turned nurse," but Barkilphedro and Lord David 
Dirry-Moir, and Hugo's Queen Anne, and Gwynplaine, 
who becomes '' chief of a clan, like Campbell, Ardmannach, 
and MacCallummore," — all this in the days of Swift and 
Saint John, defeat credulity. Even allegory has its limits. 
Baldret, King of Kent, with his charter, disdains these 
lenient laws. The English Chronicle knows not Baldret. 
Hugo's learning does not conceal itself. " Wapentake was 
a magistracy, now it is a territorial division." It used 
to mean " the Hundred-man," now it means " the Hun- 
dred." He had read some history for his book; he doubt- 
less thought that he knew the age of Swift and Addison. 
But the error was immense, and it can hardly be said 
that L'Homme Qui Rit can content a British reader. Com- 
pare Esmond with UHomme Qui Rit! 

Mr. Swinburne, to be sure, has defended UHomme 
Qui Rit against " anonymuncules " who " chatter and 
chuckle." While admiring Mr. Swinburne's loyalty, his 


Victor Hugo's Novels 

defence appears to me to amount to little more than this: 
that so great a man may do as he pleases. " Error and vio- 
lation of likelihood or fact which would damn a work of 
Balzac's or of Thackeray's, cannot even lower or lessen 
the rank and value of a work like this." There is no 
work of man or angel which would not be spoiled by a 
continuous strain of egregious nonsense. If Hugo wanted 
monsters in the reign of Queen Anne, he had not far 
to go to find them. The Brinvilliers, La Voisin, the 
Court ladies who celebrated the Black Mass, were ready 
to his hand. The horrors attributed to these fair French- 
women even Hugo could not exaggerate. But, in Eng- 
land, there was no Black Mass, no poison scandal involv- 
ing the noblest names, and no Bastile. With every abom- 
ination lying convenient to his hand, in the Memoirs and 
criminal record of the age of Louis XIV, why did Hugo 
cross the Channel to invent atrocities in a country about 
which he knew less than nothing? " Pure hate and scorn 
of an age or a people," says Mr. Swinburne, " destroy 
the faculty of observation, much more of description, even 
in the historic mind; what will they do then in the poetic? " 

They will do just what they have done in U Homme 
Qui Rit. Why Hugo should have scorned the victors of 
Blenheim, Ramillies, and Malplaquet, or scorned men who 
had no Bastile, no breaking on the wheel, no Brinvilliers, is 
not to be discovered. 

The moral of L'Homme Qui Rit is. in part, that of 
Hugo's last novel, written after the Terrible Year, Quatre- 
vingt-treize. The father of the vivandiere was beaten 
into a cripple, by the Seigneur, for killing a rabbit. Her 
husband's father was hanged " by the King," as a faux 
saulnier. The grandfather of the vivandiere was sent to 
the galleys as a Huguenot ''by the cure"; and her hus- 
band is fighting for the seigneurs, the cure, and the King. 


Victor Hugo's Novels 


Moiiri/r de faim, est-ce etre dans la loi? " 

" Depiiis quand ntoures-vous de faim? " 

" Depuis toute ma vie." 

Hugo has Ics miserables always with him, and he is 
always of their party. " The poor, the rich; it is a dread- 
ful business," the old beggar says. 

In the civil war of France his genius Is itself again: 
in " the victory of France over Europe, and the victory 
of Paris over France." The war rages round the three 
children, the children of the revolutionary regiment, the 
hostages of the Royalists. Children and mothers are here, 
as in all his novels, the flowers in the mire and blood of 
battling humanity. That the children should be treated 
as hostages, by the Royalists, to perish in the burning 
tower, was probably not an idea too atrocious for the 
wars of La Vendee, In the midst of the siege, the chil- 
dren waken and play — " Un reveil d'enfants, c'est ime ouver- 
ture de fleiirs; il semble qii'un parfttm sorte de ces frakhes 
ames." To mingle the odours of burnt powder and of 
blood with the fragrance of childhood is Hugo's constant 
method. We may criticise the violence of the contrasts 
in which he dehghts, but we are subdued by his pictures 
of infantile grace and charm. So the contrasts present 
themselves alternately: till the fanatic Republican destroys 
his dearest friend for daring to do an act of clemency — 
and shoots himself. The latter part of his conduct was 
unexampled; the former, the Roman role of Brutus, was 
usual enough. The Revolution was the true field for 
Hugo's genius — fantastic, terrible, and tender. Here he 
was at home, not in the Court of good Queen Anne. 

To the English reader the sources of Hugo's faults 
appear to be two: the love of the excessive, as if Martin 
had written romances in the manner of his pictures; and 
the entire lack of the humour which restrains exaggera- 


Victor Hugo's Novels 

tion. It is much to be doubted whether cosmic strifes 
and emotions find their true vehicle in romances; whether 
novels with forces and principles of human nature for 
protagonists are entirely possible. These things are the 
themes of historical science, or of history as understood 
by Carlyle and Michelet. Prose fiction has its limits; but 
limit was unknown to Hugo. He piled PeHon on Ossa 
to scale heaven: in his lyric poetry he is a man; he is a 
Titan, we must end by saying, as we began, in his ro- 
mances. The characters of his creation who live are his 
mothers and children, and, now and again, his lovers, and 
his minor characters. Monsters, even monsters of virtue, 
cannot become much more real than, though they are 
quite as impressive as, Quasimodo and the pieuvre. The 
chiefs of creative fiction live in their children, the children 
of Shakespeare, Moliere, Fielding, Jane Austen. Hugo's 
life is as the life of winds and waves: like Euripides, he is 

" the meteoric poet." 

A. Lang. 


Victor Hugo zvas born on the 26th of February, 1802, 
at Besangon, where his father, an officer in Moreau's army, was 
commanding a battalion. His first three years ivere spent in 
Corsica; in 1805 his mother took her family to Paris, but re- 
joined her husband, at Avellino, in South Italy, in 180/. Gen- 
eral Hugo, as the father presently became, zvas appointed a 
governor in Spain, from zdiich the English under Welling- 
ton dislodged himself and his family in 1812. Returning to 
Paris, Victor was put to school until 1818, zvhen he made up 
his mind that literature should be his profession. That he zvas 
still under classical influences was proved by his first volume, 
the " Odes et Poesies " of 1822. It gained him a pension from 
Louis XVIII, and was followed next year by his earliest 
novel, "Han d'Islande." The romantic movement nozv spread 
to France, and Hugo was one of its earliest adherents; he took 
the lead in revolt by publishing his " Odes " in 1826 and his 
" Cromzvell " in 182'/. It zvas in the preface to the latter that 
his famous formula of the Romantic faith zvas issued. He 
first took a place, however, among the leading lyric poets of 
Europe with his " Orientates " of 182Q. This was a crowning 
year in Victor Hugo's career; it sazv the production of " Her- 
nani " and the composition of "Marion Delorme" and " Le Der- 
nier Jour d'un Condamnc." From this time forth his plays, nov- 


Biographical Note 

els, and lyrical poems were poured forth in three parallel and 
continuous streams. " Notre-Damc de Paris " was published on 
the iph of February, i8ji. For the next ten years the life of 
Victor Hugo was one of continual prosperity and ever-ascend- 
ing fame. Among his dramas, " Ruy Bias" belongs to i8j8, 
and among the collections of his poems " Les Voix Interieures " 
to iSj/. He was elected to the French Academy in 1841 and 
created a peer of France in 184^. He had been in sympa- 
thy zuith the Government, but when the Royalists fell and 
Napoleon arrived on the scene, Victor Hugo became a vio- 
lent radical. As a member of the Legislative Assembly lie 
opposed the Coup d'etat, and was exiled at the close of 1851, 
taking up his residence in Brussels. Here the violence of his 
attacks on Napoleon HI led to his expulsion from Belgium, 
aiid in the summer of 1852 he settled at St. Hcliers, in Jer- 
sey, whence he sent out the fierce sheaf of " Les Chdtiments " 
in the fqllozuing year. Jersey, in its turn, became too hot to 
hold him, and in the autumn of 1855 ^^ ^^^k up his abode at 
Hauteville House, Guernsey, where he resided for fifteen years. 
His occupation during the earlier part of his stay at Guernsey 
was the composition of " La Legende des Siecles," the first 
portion of which appeared in i8^Q. Victor Hugo's huge 
novel, " Les Miscrablcs," was published in 1862,^ and his fan- . 
tastic zvork on Shakespeare in 1864. Two grotesquely ro- 
viantic novels, "Les Travailleurs de la Mer" and " U Homme 
Qui Kit,'' belong respectively to 1866 and i86p. The Napoleon 
dynasty having fallen, Hugo immediately reappeared in 
France (September 5, iSyo) and endured his share of the suf- jj 


ferings of the siege of Paris. After somewhat unsuccessfully 
acting a part in the politics of reconstruction, Hugo with- 
drew to Brussels, from zvhich town he was driven in May, 

xxviii i 

Biographical Note 

iSji, for his expressed sympathy zuith the Paris Commune. 
He now retired from the feuds of politics and devoted himself 
mainly to poetry, only one novel, " Quatre-vingt-treize," 1874, 
belonging to this latest period of his career. From Decem- 
ber, i8yi, the residence of Hugo was Paris, where he lived 
with his widowed daughter-in-law and her children; in 18 y 5 
he was elected a perpetual senator. For fourteen years he 
enjoyed, in full serenity and strength, the splendours of an old 
age of extreme celebrity; it was said that he entered, during his 
lifetime, into immortality. In the spring of 1885 he took a chill 
zvhile riding, as he loved to do, on the outside of an omnibus. 
His heart gradually gave way, and he died on the 22d of May. 
He received from the city of Paris a funeral of extreme pomp, 
and the Pantheon zvqs prepared for his reception, after the 
coffin had been lying in public state, for tzventy-four hours, 
under the Arc de Triomphe. 

E. G. 

B XX ix Vol. 4 



The announcement that this edition was furnished 
with several fresh chapters was incorrect; they should 
have been described as hitherto unpublished. For, if by 
fresh one understands newly written, then the chapters 
added to this edition are not fresh ones. They were 
written at the same time as the rest of the work; they 
date from the same period, were engendered by the same 
thought, and from the first formed part of the manuscript 
of Notre-Dame de Paris. Moreover, the author cannot 
imagine adding new developments to a work of this 
nature, the thing being once finished and done with. That 
cannot be done at will. To his idea, a novel is, in a sense, 
necessarily born with all its chapters complete, a drama 
with all its scenes. Do not let us think there is anything 
arbitrary in the particular number of parts which go to 
make up that whole — that mysterious microcosm which we 
call a novel or a drama. Neither joins nor patches are ever 
effectual in such a work, which ought to be fashioned in a 
single piece, and so be left, as best may be. The thing once 
done, listen to no second thoughts; attempt no touchings 
up of the book once given to the world, its sex, virile 
or otherwise, once recognised and acknowledged; the child, 
having once uttered its first cry, is born, is fashioned 
in that way and no other; father or mother are powerless 
to alter it, it belongs to the air and the sun; let it live 


Author*s Preface 

or die as it is. Is your book a failure? Tant pis, but 
do not add chapters to those which have already failed. 
Is it defective? — it should have been completed before 
birth. Your tree is gnarled? You will not straighten 
it out. Your novel phthisical, not viable? You will never 
give it the life that is lacking to it. Your drama is 
born lame? Believe me, it is futile to supply it with 
a wooden leg. 

The author is therefore particularly anxious that the 
public should know that the interpolated chapters were nOt 
written expressly for this new edition. They were hot in- 
cluded in the previous editions for a very simple reason. 
When Notre-Dame de Paris was being printed the first 
time, the packet of manuscript containing these chapters 
went astray, so that they would either have had to be rewrit- 
ten or omitted. The author considered that the only chap- 
ters of real import were the two dealing specially with art 
and history, but that their omission would in no way dis- 
turb the course of the drama; and that the public being 
unconscious of their absence, he alone would be in the 
secret of this hiatus. He decided then for the omission, 
not only for the above reason, but because, it must be 
confessed, his indolence shrank affrighted from the task 
of rewriting the lost chapters. Rather would he have 
written a new book altogether. 

Meanwhile, these chapters have reappeared, and the 
author seizes the first opportunity to restore them to 
their proper place, thus presenting his work complete 
— such as he imagined it, well or ill, lasting or perish- 
able; but in the form he desired it to have. 

Paris, October zo, i8j2. 




Some years ago, when visiting, or, more properly 
speaking, thoroughly exploring the Cathedral of Notre- 
Dame, the writer came upon the word 


graven on the wall in a dim corner of one of the towers. 

In the outline and slope of these Greek capitals, black 
with age and deeply scored into the stone, there were 
certain peculiarities characteristic of Gothic calligraphy 
which at once betrayed the hand of the mediaeval scribe. 

But most of all, the writer was struck by the dark 
and fateful significance of the word; and he pondered 
long and deeply over the identity of that anguished soul 
that would not quit the world without imprinting this 
stigma of crime or misfortune on the brow of the ancient 


Since then the wall has been plastered over or 
scraped — I forget which — and the inscription has disap- 
peared. For thus, during the past two hundred years, 
have the marvellous churches of the Middle Ages been 
treated. Defacement and mutilation have been their por- 
tion — both from within and from without. The priest plas- 
ters them over, the architect scrapes them; finally the 
people come and demohsh them altogether. 

* Fate, destiny. 


Author's Preface 

Hence, save only the perishable memento dedicated 
to it here by the author of this book, nothing remains 
of the mysterious word graven on the sombre tower of 
Notre-Dame, nothing of the unknown destiny it so mourn- 
fully recorded. The man who inscribed that word passed 
centuries ago from among men; the w'ord, in its turn, 
has been effaced from the wall of the Cathedral; soon, 
perhaps, the Cathedral itself will have vanished from the 
face of the earth. 

This word, then, the writer has taken for the text 
of his book. 

February, i8ji. 




Victor Hugo's Novels v-xxv 

Andrew Lang 

Life of Victor Hugo xxvii-xxix 

Edmund Gosse 

Author's Preface to the edition of 1832 . xxxi-xxxii 

Author's Preface to the edition of 1 83 1 . xxxiii-xxxiv 

Notre-Dame de Paris : 


( \.J The great hall 3 

II. Pierre Gringoire 18 

III. The Cardinal 27 

IV. Master Jacques Coppenole 34 

V. Quasimodo 4-3 

VI. Esmeralda 5° 


I. From Scylla to Charybdis 53 

^ II. The Place de Greve . , , 5^ 

III. Besos para golpes 5^ 

IV. The mishaps consequent on following a pretty woman 

through the streets at night 68 

V. Sequel of the mishap 7 2 

VI. The broken pitcher 75 

VII. A wedding night , 93 


Notre-Dame de Paris 


I. Notre-Dame . ^ . , -t-^ 103 

II. Bird' s-eye view of Paris 112 


I. Charitable souls 137 

II. Claude Frollo 141 

III. Immanis pecoris custos, immanior ipse 146 

IV. The dog and his master 153 

V. Further particulars of Claude Frollo 155 

VI. Unpopularity 161 


I. The Abbot of St. Martin's 163 

>« II. This will destroy That 174 


I. An impartial glance at the ancient magistracy . . . .189 

II. The Rat-hole 200 

III. The story of a wheaten cake 204 

IV. /A tear for a d rop of water , 224 

V. End of the wheaten cake 233 


I. Showing the danger of confiding one's secret to a goat . 235 

_JI. Showing that a priest and a philosopher are not the same . 250 

^ The bells 259 

IV. Fate I- 

V. The two men in black '- , + 

VI. Of the result of launching a string of seven oaths in a 

public square 280 

VII. The spectre-monk 385 

VIII. The convenience of windows overlookmg the river . . 292 


I. The crown piece changed into a vnthered leaf . . . 301 

II. Sequel to the crown piece changed into a withered leaf . 310 

III. End of the crown piece changed into a withered leaf . . 315 




IV. Lajciate ogni Speranza ^ig 

V. The mother 112 

VI. Three various hearts of men , , • 33^ 


I. Delirium 5c? 

II. Humpbacked, one-eyed, lame , . 364 

III. Deaf 368 

IV. Earthenware and crystal • 37° 

Vj) The key of the Porte Rouge 381 

*«iVl. Sequel to the key of the Porte Rouge 383 


I. Gringoire has several bright ideas in succession in the Rue 

^.. ^ des Bernardins 287 

i II. /Turn vagabond ! 3^7 

iTTr l^ive la Joie ! 399 

IV. An awkward fiiend ij.08 

V. The closet where Monsieur Louis of France recites his 

orisons ^27 

VI. The pass-word 457 

VII. Chateaupers to the rescue . , /j.58 


I. The little shoe /^Si 

II, La Creatura Bella Bianco Vestita .,.,.. 494 

III. The marriage of Phoebus 502 

IV. The marriage of Quasimodo 503 

Appendix 506 

The Portraits and Caricatures of Victor Hugo 507-519 

Octave Uzanne 






Precisely three hundred and forty-eight years six 
months and nineteen days ago * Paris was awakened by the 
sound of the peaHng of all the bells within the triple enclos- 
ing walls of the city, the University, and the town. 

Yet the 6th of January, 1482, was not a day of which his- 
tory has preserved the record. There was nothing of peculiar 
note in the event which set all the bells and the good people 
of Paris thus in motion from early dawn. It was neither an 
assault by Picards or Burgundians, nor a holy image carried 
in procession, nor a riot of the students in the vineyard of 
Laas, nor the entry into the city of " our most dread Lord 
the King," nor even a fine stringing up of thieves, male and 
female, at the Justice of Paris. Neither was it the unex- 
pected arrival, so frequent in the fifteenth century, of some for- 
eign ambassador with his beplumed and gold-laced retinue. 
Scarce two days had elapsed since the last cavalcade of this 
description, that of the Flemish envoys charged with the mis- 
sion TO conclude the marriage between the Dauphin and Mar- 
garet of Flanders, had made its entry into Paris, to the great 
annoyance of Monsieur the Cardinal of Bourbon, who, to 
please the King, had been obliged to extend a gracious recep- 
tion to this boorish company of Flemish burgomasters, and 
entertain them in his Hotel de Bourbon with a " most pleasant 

* Notre-Dame de Paris was begun July 30, 1830. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

morality play, drollery, and farce," while a torrent of rain 
drenched the splendid tapestries at his door. 

The 6th of January, which " set the whole population of 
Paris in a stir," as Jehan de Troyes relates, was the date of 
the double festival — united since time immemorial — of the 
Three Kings, and the Feast of Fools. 

On this day there was invariably a bonfire on the Place de 
Grwe, a may-pole in front of the Chapelle de Braque, and a 
mystery-play at the Palais de Justice, as had been proclaimed 
with blare of trumpets on the preceding day in all the streets 
by Monsieur the Provost's men, arrayed in tabards of violet 
camlet with great white crosses on the breast. 

The stream of people accordingly made their way in the 
morning from all parts of the town, their shops and houses 
being closed, to one or other of these points named. Each 
one had chosen his share of the entertainments — some the 
bonfire, some the may-pole, others the Mystery. To the credit 
of the traditional good sense of the Paris " cit " be it said that 
the majority of the spectators directed their steps towards the 
bonfire, which was entirely seasonable, or the Mystery, which 
was to be performed under roof and cover in the great Hall 
of the Palais de Justice, and were unanimous in leaving the 
poor scantily decked may-pole to shiver alone under the Janu- 
ary sky in the cemetery of the Chapelle de Braque. 

The crowd flocked thickest in the approaches to the Palais, 
as it was known that the Flemish envoys intended to be pres- 
ent at the performance of the Mystery, and the election of the 
Pope of Fools, which was likewise to take place in the great 

It was no easy matter that day to penetrate into the great 
Hall, then reputed the largest roofed-in space in the world. 
(It is true that, at that time, Sauval had not yet measured the 
great hall of the Castle of Montargis.) To the gazers from 
the windows, the square in front of the Palais, packed as it 
was with people, presented the aspect of a lake into which 
five or six streets, like so many river mouths, were each mo- 
ment pouring fresh floods of heads. The ever-swelling waves 
of this multitude broke against the angles of the houses, which 
projected here and there, like promontories, into the irregular 
basin of the Place. 

The Great Hall 

In the centre of the high Gothic * fagade of the Palais was 
the great flight of steps, incessantly occupied by a double 
stream ascending and descending, which, after being broken 
by the intermediate landing, spread in broad waves over the 
two lateral flights. 

Down this great stair-case the crowd poured continuously 
into the Place like a cascade into a lake, the shouts, the 
laughter, the trampling of thousands of feet making a mighty 
clamour and tumult. From time to time the uproar re- 
doubled, the current which bore the crowd towards the grand 
stairs was choked, thrown back, and formed into eddies, when 
some archer thrust back the crowd, or the horse of one of 
the provost's men kicked out to restore order; an admirable 
tradition which has been faithfully handed down through the 
centuries to our present gendarmerie of Paris. 

Every door and window and roof swarmed with good, 
placid, honest burgher faces gazing at the Palais and at the 
crowd, and asking no better amusement. For there are many 
people in Paris quite content to be the spectators of specta- 
tors; and to us a wall, behind which something is going on, 
is a sufficiently exciting spectacle. 

If we of the nineteenth century could mingle in imagina- 
tion with these Parisians of the fifteenth century, could push 
our way with that hustling, elbowing, stamping crowd into the 
immense Hall of the Palais, so cramped on that 6th of Janu- 
ary, 1482, the scene would not be without interest or charm 
for us, and we would find ourselves surrounded by things so 
old that to us they would appear quite new. 

With the reader's permission we will attempt to evoke in 
thought the impression he would have experienced in crossing 
with us the threshold of that great Hall amid that throng in 
surcoat, doublet, and kirtle. 

At first there is nothing but a dull roar in our ears and a 
dazzle in our eyes. Overhead, a roof of double Gothic arches, 

- ■ - ■-- — - ■ - ■ ' — ■ - - ~— ~ -.1 I I I ■■-■■.--..I — I ■ 

* The term Gothic used in its customary sense is quite incorrect, but 
is hallowed by tradition. We accept it, therefore, and use it like the rest 
of the world, to characterize the architecture of the latter half of the Mid- 
dle Ages, of which the pointed arch forms the central idea, and which 
succeeds the architecture of the first period, of which the round arch is the 
prevailing feature.— Author's note, 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

panelled with carved wood, painted azure blue, and diapered 
with golden fleur de lis ; underfoot, a pavement in alternate 
squares of black and white. A few paces off is an enormous 
pillar, and another — seven in all down the length of the hall, 
supporting in the centre line the springing arches of the dou- 
ble groining. Around the first four pillars are stalls all glit- 
tering with glassware and trinkets, and around the last three 
are oaken benches, worn smooth and shining by the breeches 
of the litigants and the gowns of the attorneys. Ranged 
along the lofty walls, between the doors, between the win- 
dows, between the pillars, is the interminable series of statues 
of the rulers of France from Pharamond downward ; the 
" Rois faineants," with drooping eyes and indolent hanging 
arms ; the valiant warrior kings, with head and hands boldly 
uplifted in the sight of heaven. The tall, pointed windows 
glow in a thousand colours ; at the wide entrances to the Hall 
are richly carved doors; and the whole — roof, pillars, walls, 
cornices, doors, statues — is resplendent from top to bottom 
in a coating of blue and gold, already somewhat tarnished at 
the period of which we write, but which had almost entirely 
disappeared under dust and cobwebs in the year of grace 
1549, when Du Breuil alluded to it in terms of admiration, but 
from hearsay only. 

Now let the reader picture to himself that immense, oblong 
Hall under the wan light of a January morning and invaded 
by a motley, noisy crowd, pouring along the walls and eddy- 
ing round the pillars, and he will have some idea of the scene 
as a whole, the peculiarities of which we will presently en- 
deavour to describe more in detail. 

Assuredly if Ravaillac had not assassinated Henri IV there 
would have been no documents relating to his trial to be de- 
posited in the Record office of the Palais de Justice ; no accom- 
plices interested in causing those documents to disappear, and 
consequently no incendiaries compelled, in default of a better 
expedient, to set fire to the Record office in order to destroy 
the documents, and to burn down the Palais de Justice in 
order to burn the Record office — in short, no conflagration of 
1618. The old Palais would still be standing with its great 
Hall, and I could say to the reader " Go and see for your- 
self," and we should both be exempt of the necessity, I of 


The Great Hall 

writing, he of reading this description, such as it is. All of 
which goes to prove the novel truth, that great events have 
incalculable consequences. 

To be sure, it is quite possible that Ravaillac had no ac- 
complices, also that, even if he had, they were in no way- 
accessory to the fire of 1618. There exist two other highly 
plausible explanations. In the first place, the great fiery star 
a foot wide and an ell high, which, as every mother's son 
knows, fell from heaven on to the Palais on the 7th of March 
just after midnight ; and secondly, Theophile's quatrain, which 

runs : 

" Certes, ce fut un triste jeu 
Quand i Paris dame Justice, 
Pour avoir mange trop d'epice 
Se mit tout le palais en feu." * 

Whatever one may think of this triple explanation — politi- 
cal, physical, and poetical — of the burning of the Palais de 
Justice in 1618, about one fact there is unfortunately no doubt, 
and that is the fire itself. 

Thanks to this disaster, and more still to the successive 
restorations which destroyed what the fire had spared, very 
little remains of this first residence of the Kings of France, of 
this original palace of the Louvre, so old even in the time of 
Philip the Fair, that in it they sought for traces of the magnifi- 
cent buildings erected by King Robert and described by Hel- 
galdus. Nearly all has gone. What has become of the 
Chancery Chamber in which St. Louis '* consummated his 
marriage " ? what of the garden where he administered justice, 
" clad in a jerkin of camlet, a surcoat of coarse woollen stuff 
without sleeves, and over all a mantle of black * sandal,' and 
recHning on a carpet with Joinville " ? Where is the chamber 
of the Emperor Sigismund? where that of Charles IV? 
that of John Lackland? Where is the flight of steps from 

♦ In truth it was a sorry game 
When in Paris Dame Justice, 
Having gorged herself with spice, 
Set all her palace in a flame. 
The application of these lines depends, unfortunately, on an untrans- 
latable play on the word ''pice, which means both spice and lawyers' fees. 


Notre- Dame de Paris 

which Charles VI proclaimed his "Edict of Pardon"? the 
flag-stone whereon, in the presence of the Dauphin, Marcel 
strangled Robert de Clermont and the Marshal de Cham- 
pagne? the wicket where the bulls of the anti-Pope Bene- 
dict were torn up, and through which the bearers of them 
marched out, mitred and coped in mock state, to publicly make 
the amende honorable through the streets of Paris? and the 
great Hall with its blue and gold, its Gothic windows, its 
statues, its pillars, its immense vaulted roof so profusely carved 
— and the gilded chamber — and the stone lion kneeling at the 
door with head abased and tail between its legs, like the lions 
of Solomon's throne, in that attitude of humility which be- 
seems Strength in the presence of Justice? and the beautiful 
doors, and the gorgeous-hued windows, and the wrought 
iron-work which discouraged Biscornette — and the delicate 
cabinet-work of Du Hancy? How has time, how has man, 
served these marvels? What have they given us in exchange 
for all this, for this great page of Gallic history, for all this 
Gothic art? The uncouth, surbased arches of M. de Brosse, 
the clumsy architect of the great door of Saint-Gervais — 
so much for art ; and as regards history, we have the gossipy 
memoirs of the Great Pillar, which still resounds with the old 
wives' tales of such men as Patru. 

Well, that is not much to boast of. Let us return to the 
real great Hall of the real old Palais. 

The two extremities of this huge parallelogram were occu- 
pied, the one by the famous marble table, so long, so broad, 
and so thick that, say the old territorial records in a style that 
would whet the appetite of a Gargantua, " Never was such a 
slab of marble seen in the world " ; the other by the chapel in 
which Louis XI caused his statue to be sculptured kneeling in 
front of the Virgin, and to which he had transferred — indif- 
ferent to the fact that thereby two niches were empty in the 
line of royal statues — those of Charlemagne and Saint-Louis : 
two saints who, as Kings of France, he supposed to be high 
in favour in heaven. This chapel, which was still quite new, 
having been built scarcely six years, was carried out entirely 
in that charming style of delicate architecture, with its mar- 
vellous stone-work, its bold and exquisite t»-acery, which marks 
in France the end of the Gothic period, and lasts on into the 


The Great Hall 

middle of the sixteenth century in the ethereal fantasies of 
the Renaissance. The little fretted stone rose-window above 
the door was in particular a master-piece of grace and light- 
ness — a star of lace. 

In the centre of the Hall, opposite the great entrance, they 
had erected for the convenience of the Flemish envoys and 
other great personages invited to witness the performance of 
the Mystery, a raised platform covered with gold brocade and 
fixed against the wall, to which a special entrance had been 
contrived by utilizing a window into the passage from the 
Gilded Chamber. <\VV^. 

^- According to custom, the performance was to take place! — 
upon the marble table, which had been prepared for that 
purpose since the morning. On the magnificent slab, all ^y 
scored by the heels of the law-clerks, stood a high wooden 
erection, the upper floor of w^hich, visible from every part of 
the Hall, was to serve as the stage, while its interior, hung 
round with draperies, furnished a dressing-room for the actors. 
A ladder, frankly placed in full view of the audience, formed 
the connecting link between stage and dressing-room, and 
served the double office of entrance and exit. There was no 
character however unexpected, no change of scene, no stage , 
effect, but was obliged to clamber up this ladder. Dear and 
guileless infancy of art and of stage machinery! 

Four sergeants of the provost of the Palais — the appointed 
superintendents of all popular holidays, whether festivals or 
executions — stood on duty at the four corners of the marble 

The piece was not to commence till the last stroke of noon 
of the great clock of the Palais. To be sure, this was very 
late for a theatrical performance: but they had been obliged 
to suit the convenience of the ambassadors. 

Now, all this multitude had been waiting since the early 
morning ; indeed, a considerable number of these worthy spec- 
tators had stood shivering and chattering their teeth with cold 
since break of day before the grand stair-case of the Palais; 
some even declared that they had spent the night in front of 
the great entrance to make sure of being the first to get in. 
The crowd became denser every moment, and like water that 
overflows its boundaries, began to mount the w^alls, to surge 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

round the pillars, to rise up and cover the cornices, the 
window-sills, every projection and every coign of vantage in 
architecture or sculpture. The all-prevailing impatience, dis- 
comfort, and weariness, the license of a holiday approvedly 
dedicated to folly, the quarrels incessantly arising out of a 
sharp elbow or an iron-shod heel, the fatigue of long waiting 
— all conduced to give a tone of bitterness and acerbity to the 
clamour of this closely packed, squeezed, hustled, stifled 
throng long before the hour at which the ambassadors were 
expected. Nothing was to be heard but grumbling and 
imprecations against the Flemings, the Cardinal de Bourbon, 
the Chief Magistrate, Madame Marguerite of Austria, the 
beadles, the cold, the heat, the bad weather, the Bishop of 
Paris, the Fools' Pope, the pillars, the statues, this closed 
door, yonder open window — to the huge diversion of the 
bands of scholars and lackeys distributed through the crowd, 
who mingled their gibes and pranks with this seething mass of 
dissatisfaction, aggravating the general ill-humour by per- 
petual pin-pricks. 

There was one group in particular of these joyous young 
demons who, after knocking out the glass of a window, had 
boldly seated themselves in the frame, from whence they could 
cast their gaze and their banter by turns at the crowd inside 
the Hall and that outside in the Place, By their aping 
gestures, their yells of laughter, by their loud interchange of 
opprobrious epithets with comrades at the other side of the 
Hall, it was very evident that these budding literati by no 
means shared the boredom and fatigue of the rest of the gath- 
ering, and that they knew very well how to extract out of the 
scene actually before them sufficient entertainment of their 
own to enable them to wait patiently for the other. 

" Why, by my soul, 'tis Joannes Frollo de Molendino ! " 
cried one of them to a Httle fair-haired imp with a hand- 
some mischievous face, who had swarmed up the pillar and 
was clinging to the foliage of its capital ; " well are yow 
named Jehan of the Mill, for your two arms and legs are 
just like the sails of a wind-mill. How long have you been 
here ? " 

" By the grace of the devil," returned Joannes Frollo, 
" over four hours, and I sincerely trust they may be deducted 


The Great Hall 

from my time in purgatory. I heard the eight chanters of 
the King of Sicily start High Mass at seven in the Sainte- 

" Fine chanters forsooth ! " exclaimed the other, " their 
voices are sharper than the peaks of their caps! The King 
had done better, before founding a Mass in honour of M. 
Saint-John, to inquire if M. Saint-John was fond of hearing 
Latin droned with a Provengal accent." 

" And was it just for the sake of employing these rascally 
chanters of the King of Sicily that he did that ? " cried an 
old woman bitterly in the crowd beneath the window. " I 
ask you — a thousand livres parisis ''' for a Mass, and that too 
to be charged on the license for selling salt-water fish in the 
fish-market of Paris." 

" Peace ! old woman," replied a portly and solemn per- 
sonage, who was holding his nose as he stood beside the fish- 
wife ; " a Mass had to be founded. Would you have the King 
fall sick again ? " 

" Bravely said. Sir Gilles Lecornu,\ master furrier to the 
royal wardrobe ! " cried the little scholar clinging to the 

A burst of laughter from the whole band of scholars 
greeted the unfortunate name of the hapless Court furrier. 

" Lecornu ! Gilles Lecornu ! " shouted some. 

" Cornitus et hirsntus! " X responded another. 

" Why, of course," continued the little wretch on the capi- 
tal. " But what is there to laugh about ? A worthy man is 
Gilles Lecornu, brother to Master Jehan Lecornu, provost 
of the Royal Palais, son of Master Mahiet Lecornu, head 
keeper of the Forest of Vincennes, all good citizens of Paris, 
married every one of them from father to son ! " 

The mirth redoubled. The portly furrier answered never 
a word, but did his best to escape the attention directed to 
him from all sides ; but he puffed and panted in vain. Like a 
wedge being driven into wood, his struggles only served to 

* Old French money was reckoned according to two standards, that of 
Paris (parisis) and Tours (tournois) ; the livre parisis, the old franc, hav- 
ing twenty-five sols or sous, and the livre tournois twenty sols. — Trans- 
lator's NOTE. f Cuckold. X Horned and hairy. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

fix his broad apoplectic face, purple with anger and vexation, 
more firmly between the shoulders of his neighbours. 

At last one of these neighbours, fat, pursy, and worthy 
as himself, came to his aid. 

" Out upon these graceless scholars who dare to address 
a burgher in such a manner! In my day they would have 
first been beaten with sticks, and then burnt on them," 

This set the whole band agog. 

" Hola ! he ! what tune's this ? Who's that old bird of 
ill omen? " 

" Oh, I know him ! " exclaimed one ; " it's Maitre Andry 

" Yes, he's one of the four booksellers by appointment to 
the University," said another. 

" Everything goes by fours in that shop ! " cried a third. 
" Four nations, four faculties, four holidays, four procurators, 
four electors, four booksellers." 

" Very good," returned Jehan Frollo, " we'll quadruple 
the devil for them." 

" Musnier, we'll burn thy books." 

" Musnier, we'll beat thy servants." 

" Musnier, we'll tickle thy wife." 

" The good, plump Mile.' Oudarde." 

" Who is as buxom and merry as if she were already a 

" The devil fly away with you all," growled Maitre Andry 

" Maitre Andry," said Jehan, still hanging fast to his capi- 
tal, " hold thy tongue, or I fall plump on thy head." 

Maitre Andry looked up, appeared to calculate for a mo- 
ment the height of the pillar and the weight of the little rascal, 
mentally multiplied that weight by the square of the velocity 
— and held his peace. Whereupon Jehan, left master of the 
field, added triumphant^, " And I'd do it too, though I am 
the brother of an archdeacon." 

" A fine set of gentlemen those of ours at the University, 
not even on a day like this do they see that we get our 
rights. There's a may-pole and a bonfire in the town, a Fools' 
Pope and Flemish ambassadors in the city, but at the Uni- 
versity, nothing ! " 


The Great Hall 

" And yet the Place Maubert is large enough," observed 
one of the youngsters, ensconced in a corner of the window- 

" Down with the Rector, the electors, and the procura- 
tors ! " yelled Jehan. 

" We'll make a bonfire to-night in the Champs-Gaillard 
with Maitre Andry's books ! " added another. 

" And the desks of the scribes ! " cried his neighbour. 

" And the wands of the beadles ! " 

" And the spittoons of the deans ! " 

" And the muniment chests of the procurators ! " 

*' And the tubs of the doctors ! " 

"And the stools of the Rector!" 

" Down ! " bellowed little Jehan in a roaring bass ; " down 
with Maitre Andry, the beadles and the scribes ; down with 
the theologians, the physicians, and the priests ; down with 
the procurators, the electors, and the Rector ! ! " 

" 'Tis the end of the world ! " muttered Maitre Andry, 
stopping his ears. 

" Talk of the Rector — there he goes down the square ! " 
cried ond of those in the window. And they all strained to 
catch a glimpse. 

" Is it in truth our venerable Rector, Maitre Thibaut ? " in- 
quired Jehan Frollo du Moulin, who from his pillar in the inte- 
rior of the Hall could see nothing of what went on outside. 

" Yes, yes," responded the others in chorus, " it is Maitre 
Thibaut, the Rector himself." 

It was in fact the Rector, accompanied by all the digni- 
taries of the University going in procession to receive the 
ambassadors, and in the act of crossing the Place du Palais. 
The scholars crowding at the window greeted them as they 
passed with gibes a«d ironical plaudits. The Rector march- 
ing at the head of his band received the first volley — it was 
a heavy one. 

" Good-day, Monsieur the Rector — Hola there ! Good- 
day to you ! " 

" How comes it that the old gambler has managed to be 
here? Has he then actually left his dice? " 

" Look at him jogging alone on his mule — its ears are not 
as long as his own ! " 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

" Hola, good-day to you Monsieur the Rector Thibaut ! 
Tybaldc aleator! * old numskull ! old gamester ! " 

■' God save you ! How often did you throw double six 
last night ? " 

" Oh, just look at the lantern-jawed old face of him — all 
livid and drawn and battered from his love of dice and 
gaming! " 

" Where are you ofif to like that, Thibaut, Tybalde ad 
dados,^ turning your back on the University and trotting 
towards the town ? " 

" Doubtless he is going to seek a lodging in the Rue 
Thibautode ! " | cried Jehan Frollo. 

The whole ribald crew repeated the pun in a voice of 
thunder and with furious clapping of hands. 

" You are off to seek a lodging in the Rue Thibautode, 
aren't you, Monsieur the Rector, own partner to the devil ! " 

Now came the turn of the other dignitaries. 

" Down with the beadles ! Down with the mace- 
bearers ! " 

" Tell me, Robin Poussepain, who is that one over 

" It is Gilbert de Suilly, Gilbertus de Soliaco, the Chan- 
cellor of the College of Autun." 

" Here, take my shoe — you have a better place than I 
have — throw it in his face ! " 

" SaturnaUtias mittimus ecce nuces! " * 

" Down with the six theologians in their white sur- 
plices ! " 

"Are those the theologians? I took them for the six 
white geese Sainte-Genevieve pays to the Town as tribute for 
the fief of Roogny." 

" Down with the physicians ! " 

" Down with all the pompous and squabbling disputa- 
tions ! " 

" Here goes my cap at thy head, Chancellor of Sainte-Gene- 
vieve ; I owe thee a grudge. He gave my place in the Nation 

* Thibaut, thou gamester, 
f Thibaut towards losses. 

f A pun. Thibaut aux des ; i. e., Thibaut with the dice. 

* Freely translated : There'll be rotten apples thrown at heads to-day, 


The Great Hall 

of Normandy to little Ascaino Falzaspada, who as an Italian, 

belongs of right to the Province of Bourges." 

" 'Tis an injustice ! " cried the scholars in chorus. " Down 

with the Chancellor of Sainte-Genevieve ! " 

" Ho, there, Maitre Joachim de Ladehors ! Ho, Louis 

Dahuille ! Ho, Lambert Hoctement ! " 

" The devil choke the Procurator of the Nation of 

Germany ! " 

" And the chaplains of the Sainte-Chapelle in their gray 

amices ; cum tunicis grisis! " 

" Seu de pdlibus grisis fourratis! " 

" There go the Masters of Art ! Oh, the fine red copes ! 

and oh, the fine black ones[" 

" That makes a fine tail 'for the Rector ! " 

" He might be the Doge of Venice going to espouse 

the sea." 

" Look, Jehan, the canons of Sainte-Genevieve ! " 

"The foul fiend. take the whole lot of them!" 

" Abbe Claude Choart ! Doctor Claude Choart, do you 

seek Marie ta Giflfarde ? " 

" You'll find her in the Rue Glatigny." 

" Bed-making for the King of the Bawdies ! " 

" She pays her fourpence — qiiahior denarios." 

" Aitt iinum bombiim." 

" Would you have her pay you with one on the nose ? " 

" Comrades ! Maitre Simon Sanguin, the elector of the 

Nation of Picardy, with his wife on the saddle behind him." 
" Post cquifem sedct atra ciira." * 
" Good-day to you. Monsieur the Elector ! " 
*' Good-night to you, Madame the Electress ! " 
" Lucky dogs to be able to see all that ! " sighed Joannes 

de Molendino, still perched among the acanthus leaves of 

his capital. 

Meanwhile the bookseller of the University, Maitre Andry 

Musnier, leaned over and whispered to the Court furrier, 

Maitre Gilles Lecornu : 

" I tell you, monsieur, 'tis the end of the world. Never 

has there been such unbridled license among the scholars. 

* Behind the rider sits black care. 
C 15 Vol. 4 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

It all comes of these accursed inventions — they ruin every- 
thing — the artillery, the culverine, the blunderbuss, and above 
all, printing, that second pestilence brought us from Ger- 
many. No more manuscripts — no more books ! Printing 
gives the death-blow to bookselling. It is the beginning of 
the end." 

" I, too, am well aware of it by the increasing preference 
for velvet stufifs," said the furrier. 

At that moment it struck twelve. 

A long-drawn " Ah ! " went up from the crowd. 

The scholars held their peace. There ensued a general 
stir and upheaval, a great shuffling of feet and movement of 
heads, much coughing and blowing of noses ; everyone re- 
settled himself, rose on tip-toe, placed himself in the most 
favourable position obtainable. Then deep silence, every 
neck outstretched, every mouth agape, every eye fixed on the 
marble table. Nothing appeared ; only the four sergeants 
were still at their posts, stiff and motionless as four painted 
statues. Next, all eyes turned towards the platform reserved 
for the Flemish envoys. The door remained closed and the 
platform empty. Since daybreak the multitude had been 
waiting for three things— the hour of noon, the Flemish am- 
bassadors, and the Mystery-Play. Noon alone had kept the 
appointment. It was too bad. They waited one, two, three, 
five minutes — a quarter of an hour — nothing happened. Then 
anger followed on the heels of impatience ; indignant words 
flew hither and thither, though in suppressed tones as yet. 
*' The Mystery, the Mystery ! " they murmured sullenly. The 
temper of the crowd began to rise rapidly. The warning 
growls of the gathering storm rumbled overhead. It was 
Jehan du Moulin who struck out the first flash. 

" Let's have the Mystery, and the devil take the Flem- 
ings ! " he cried at the pitch of his voice, coiling himself about 
his pillar like a serpent. 

The multitude clapped its approval. 

" The Mystery, the Mystery ! " they repeated, " and to the 
devil with all Flanders ! " 

" Give us the Mystery at once," continued the scholar, " or 
it's my advice we hang the provost of the Palais by way of 
both Comedy and Morality." 


The Great Hall 

" Well said ! " shouted the crowd, " and let's begin the 
hanging by stringing up his sergeants." 

A great roar of applause followed. The four poor devils 
grew pale and glanced apprehensively at one another. The 
multitude surged towards them.^and they already saw the frail 
wooden balustrade that formed the only barrier between them 
and the crowd bulge and give way under the pressure from 

The moment was critical. 

" At them ! At them ! " came from all sides. 

At that instant the curtain of the dressing-room we have 
described was raised to give passage to a personage, the mere 
sight of whom suddenly arrested the crowd, and, as if by 
magic, transformed its anger into curiosity. 

" Silence ! Silence ! " 

But slightly reassured and trembling in every limb, the 
person in question advanced to the edge of the marble table 
with a profusion of bows which, the nearer he approached, 
assumed more and more the character of genuflections. 

By this time quiet had been gradually restored, and there 
only remained that faint hum which always rises out of the 
silence of a great crowd. 

" Messieurs the bourgeois," he began, " and Mesdemoi- 
selles the bourgeoises, we shall have the honour of declaiming 
and performing before his Eminence Monsieur the Cardinal 
a very fine Morality entitled 'The Good Judgment of Our 
Lady the Virgin Mary.' I play Jupiter. His Eminence ac- 
companies at this moment the most honourable Embassy of 
the Duke of Austria, just now engaged in listening to the 
harangue of Monsieur the Rector of the University at the 
Porte Baudets. As soon as the Most Reverend the Cardinal 
arrives we will commence." 

Certainly nothing less than the direct intervention of 
Jupiter could have saved the four unhappy sergeants of the 
provost of the Palais from destruction. Were we so fortunate 
as to have invented this most veracious history and were 
therefore liable to be called to task for it by Our Lady of 
Criticism, not against us could the classical rule be cited, 
Nee detis intersit. 

For the rest, the costume of Seigneur Jupiter was very 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

fine, and had contributed not a little towards soothing the 
crowd by occupying its whole attention. Jupiter was arrayed 
in a " brigandine " or shirt of mail of black velvet thickly 
studded with gilt nails, on his head was a helmet embellished 
v;ith silver-gilt buttons, and but for the rouge and the great 
beard which covered respectively the upper and lower half of 
his face, but for the roll of gilded pasteboard in his hand 
studded with iron spikes and bristling with jagged strips, of 
tinsel, which experienced eyes at once recognised as the 
dread thunder-bolt, and were it not for his flesh-coloured feet, 
sandalled and beribboned a la Grecque, you would^ have been 
very apt to mistake him for one of M. de Berry's company 
of Breton archers. 



Unfortunately, the admiration and satisfaction so uni- 
versally excited by his costume died out during his harangue, 
and when he reached the unlucky concluding words, " As 
soon as his Reverence the Cardinal arrives, we will begin," 
his voice was drowned in a tempest of hooting. 

" Begin on the spot ! The Mystery, the Mystery at once ! " 
shouted the audience, the shrill voice of Joannes de Molendino 
sounding above all the rest, and piercing the general uproar 
like the fife in a charivari at Nimes. 

" Begin ! " piped the boy. 

" Down with Jupiter and the Cardinal de Bourbon ! " 
yelled Robin Poussepain and the other scholars perched on 
the window-sill. 

" The Morality ! " roared the crowd. " At once — on the 
spot. The sack and the rope for the players and the 
Cardinal ! " 

Poor Jupiter, quaking, bewildered, pale beneath his rouge, 
dropped his thunder-bolt and took his helmet in his hand ; 
then bowing and trembling : " His Eminence," he stammered, 
" the Ambassadors — Madame Marguerite of Flanders — " he 


Pierre Gringoire 

could get no farther. Truth to tell, he was afraid of being 
hanged by the populace for beginning too late, hanged by the 
Cardinal for being too soon ; on either side he beheld an 
abyss — that is to say, a gibbet. 

Mercifully some one arrived upon the scene to extricate 
him from the dilemma and assume the responsibility. 

An individual standing inside the balustrade in the space 
left clear round the marble table, and whom up till now no 
one had noticed, so effectually was his tall and spare figure 
concealed from view by the thickness of the pillar against 
which he leaned — this person, thin, sallow, light-haired, young 
still, though furrowed of brow and cheek, with gleaming eye 
and smiling mouth, clad in black serge threadbare and shiny 
with age, now approached the marble table and signed to the 
wretched victim. But the other was too perturbed to notice. 

The newcomer advanced a step nearer. " Jupiter," said 
he, " my dear Jupiter." 

The other heard nothing. 

At last the tall young man losing patience, shouted almost 
in his face : " Michel Giborne ! " 

"Who calls?" said Jupiter, starting as if from a trance. 

" It is I," answered the stranger in black. 

" Ah ! " said Jupiter. 

" Begin at once," went on the other. " Do you content 
the people — I will undertake to appease Monsieur the provost, 
who, in his turn, will appease Monsieur the Cardinal." 

Jupiter breathed again. 

" Messeigneurs the bourgeois," he shouted with all the 
force of his lungs to the audience, which had not ceased to 
hoot him, " we are going to begin." 

" Evoe Jupiter! Plaiidite cives! " * yelled the scholars. 

" Noel ! Noel ! " shouted the people. 

There was a deafening clapping of hands, and the Hall 
still rocked with plaudits after Jupiter had retired behind 
his curtain. 

Meanwhile the unknown personage who had so magically 
transformed the storm into a calm, had modestly re-entered 
the penumbra of his pillar, where doubtless he would have 

* Hail, -Jupiter ! Citizens, applaud ! 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

remained, unseen, unheard, and motionless as before, had he 
not been lured out of it by two young women who, seated in 
the first row of spectators, had witnessed his colloquy with 
Michel Giborne — Jupiter. 

" Maitre," said one of them, beckoning to him to come 

" Hush, my dear Lienarde," said her companion, a pretty, 
rosy-cheeked girl, courageous in the consciousness of her holi- 
day finery, " he doesn't belong to the University — he's a lay- 
man. You mustn't say ' Maitre ' to him, you must say 
' Messire.' " 

" Messire," resumed Lienarde. 

The stranger approached the balustrade. 

" What can I do for you, mesdemoiselles ? " he asked 

" Oh, nothing ! " said Lienarde, all confused ; " it is my 
neighbour, Gisquette la Gencienne, who wants to speak to 

" Not at all," said Gisquette, blushing, " it was Lienarde 
who called you ' Maitre,' and I told her she ought to say 
' Messire.' " 

The two girls cast down their eyes. The stranger, nothing 
loath to start a conversation with them, looked at them 

" So you have nothing to say to me, ladies ? " 

" Oh, nothing at all," Gisquette declared. 

" No, nothing," added Lienarde. 

The tall young man made as if to retire, but the two 
inquiring damsels were not inclined to let him go so soon. 

" Messire," began Gisquette with the impetuous haste of 
a woman taking a resolve, " it appears you are acquainted 
with the soldier who is going to play the part of Madame the 
Virgin in the Mystery." 

" You mean the part of Jupiter," returned the unknown. 

" Yes, of course! " said Lienarde. " Isn't she stupid? So 
you know Jupiter?" 

"Michel Giborne? Yes, madame." 

" He has a splendid beard," said Lienarde, 

" Will it be very fine what they are going to say ? " asked 
Gisquette shyly. 


Pierre Gringoire 

" Extremely fine, mademoiselle," responded the unknown 
without the slightest hesitation. 

" What is it to be? " asked Lienarde. 

" ' The Good Judgment of Madame the Virgin,' a Morality, 
an it please you, mademoiselle." 

"Ah! that's different," rejoined Lienarde. 

A short silence ensued. It was broken by the young man. 

" It is an entirely new Morality," said he, " and has never 
been used before." 

" Then it is not the same as they gave two years ago on the 
day of the entry of Monsieur the Legate, in which there were 
three beautiful girls to represent certain personages " 

" Sirens," said Lienarde. 

" And quite naked," added the young man. 

Lienarde modestly cast down her eyes. Gisquette glanced 
at her and then followed her example. 

" It was a very pleasant sight," continued the young man, 
unabashed. " But the Morality to-day was composed ex- 
pressly for Madame the Lady of Flanders." 

"Will they sing any bergerettts? " asked Gisquette. 

" Fie ! " exclaimed the unknown ; " love-songs in a 
Morality? The different sorts of plays must not be con- 
founded. Now, if it were sotie,'^ well and good " 

" What a pity ! " returned Gisquette. " That day at the 
Ponceau fountain there w^ere wild men and women who fought 
with one another and formed themselves into different groups, 
singing little airs and love-songs." 

" What is suitable for a legate," remarked the unknown 
dryly, " would not be seemly for a princess." 

" And close by," Lienarde went on, " a number of deep- 
toned instruments played some wonderful melodies." 

" And for the refreshment of the passer-by," added Gis- 
quette, " the fountains spouted wine and milk and hypocras 
from three mouths, and every one drank that would." 

" And a little below the Ponceau fountain at the Trinite," 
continued Lienarde, " there was a Passion Play acted without 

* A satirical play very much in vogue during the fifteenth and six- 
teenth centuries. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

" Yes, so there was ! " cried Gisqiiette. " Our Lord on the 
cross and the two thieves to right and left of him." 

Here the two friends, warming to the recollection of the 
legate's entry, both began talking at once, " And farther 
on, at the Porte-aux-Peintres, were other persons very richly 

" And at the Fountain of the Holy Innocents, that hunts- 
man pursuing a hind with great barking of dogs and blowing 
of horns." 

" And near the slaughter-house of Paris, that wooden erec- 
tion representing the fortress of Dieppe." 

" And you remember, Gisquette, just as the legate passed 
they sounded the assault, and all the English had their throats 

" And near the Chatelet Gate were some very fine figures." 

" And on the Pont-au-Change, too, which was all hung 
with draperies." 

" And when the legate passed over it they let fly more 
than two hundred dozen birds of all kinds. That was beauti- 
ful, Lienarde ! " 

" It will be far finer to-day," broke in their interlocutor 
at last, who had listened to them with evident impatience. 

" You can promise us that this Mystery will be a fine 
one ? " said Gisquette. 

" Most assuredly I can," he replied ; then added with a cer- 
tain solemnity, " Mesdemoiselles, I am myself the author 
of it." 

" Truly ? " exclaimed the girls in amazement. 

" Yes, truly," asserted the poet with conscious pride. 
" That is to say, there are two of us — Jehan Marchand, who 
sawed the planks and put up the wooden structure of the 
theatre, and I, who wrote the piece. My name is Pierre 

Not with greater pride could the author of the Cid have 
said, " I am Pierre Corneille." 

Our readers cannot have failed to note that some time had 
elapsed between the moment at which Jupiter withdrew behind 
the curtain, and that at which the author thus abruptly revealed 
himself to the unsophisticated admiration of Gisquette and 
Lienarde. Strange to say, all this crowd, so tumultuous but 


Pierre Gringoire 

a few minutes ago, were now waiting patiently with implicit 
faith in the player's word. A proof of the everlasting truth 
still demonstrated in our theatres, that the best means of 
making the public wait patiently is to assure them that the 
performance is about to begin. 

However, the scholar Joannes was not so easily lulled. 
" Hola ! " he shouted suddenly into the midst of the peaceful 
expectation which had succeeded the uproar, "Jupiter! 
Madame the Virgin! Ye devil's mountebanks! would you 
mock us? The piece ! the piece. Do you begin this moment, 
or we will " 

This was enough. Immediately a sound of music from 
high- and low-pitched instruments was heard underneath the 
structure, the curtain was raised, four party-coloured and 
painted figures issued from it, and clambering up the steep 
ladder on to the upper platform, ranged themselves in a row 
fronting the audience, whom they greeted with a profound 
obeisance. The symphony then ceased. The Mystery began. 

After receiving ample meed of applause in return for their 
bows, the four characters proceeded, amid profound silence, 
to deliver a prologue which we willingly spare the reader. 
Besides, just as in our own day, the public was far more inter- 
ested in the costumes the actors wore than the parts they 
enacted — and therein they chose the better part. 

All four were attired in party-coloured robes, half yellow, 
half white, dififering from one another only in material ; the 
first being of gold and silver brocade, the second of silk, the 
third of woollen stufif, the fourth of linen. The first of these 
figures carried a sword in his right hand, the second two 
golden keys, the third a pair of scales, the fourth a spade ; 
and for the benefit of such sluggish capacities as might have 
failed to penetrate the transparency of these attributes, on the 
hem of the brocade robe was embroidered in enormous black 
letters, " I am Nobility," on the silk one " I am Clergy," on 
the woolleir^one " t am Commerce," on the linen one " I am 
Labour." The sex of the two male allegories was plainly 
indicated by the comparative shortness of their tunics and 
their Phrygian caps, whereas the female characters wore robes 
of ample length and hoods on their heads. 

It would also have required real perverseness not to have 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

understood from the poetic imagery of the prologue that 
Labour was espoused to Commerce, and Clergy to Nobility, 
and that the two happy couples possessed between them a" 
magnificent golden dolphin (dauphin) which they proposed 
to adjudge only to the most beautiful damsel. Accordingly, 
thej were roaming the world in search of this Fair One, and, 
after rejecting successively the Queen of Golconda, the Prin- 
cess of Trebizonde, the daughter of the Grand Khan of Tar- 
tary, etc, etc.. Labour and Commerce, Clergy and Nobility, 
had come to rest themselves awhile on the marble table of the 
Palais de Justice, and to deliver themselves before an hon- 
oured audience of a multitude of sententious phrases, moral 
maxims, sophisms, flowers of speech, as were freely dispensed 
in those days by the Faculty of Arts or at the examinations 
at wdiich the Masters took their degree. 

All this was, in effect, very fine. 

Meanwhile, in all that crowd over which the four alle- 
gorical figures were pouring out floods of metaphor, no ear 
was more attentive, no heart more palpitating, no eye more 
eager, no neck more outstretched than the eye, the ear, the 
heart, the neck of the poet-author, our good Pierre Gringoire, 
who but a little wdiile before had been unable to resist the 
joy of revealing his name to a couple of pretty girls. He had 
retired again behind his pillar, a few paces from them, where 
he stood gazing, listening, relishing. The favourable applause 
which had greeted the opening of his prologue was still thrill- 
ing through his vitals ; and he was completely carried away by 
that kind of contemplative ecstasy with which the dramatic 
author follows his ideas as they drop one by one from the lips 
of the actor amid the silence of a vast audience. Happy 
Pierre Gringoire ! 

Sad to say, however, this first ecstasy was but of short du- 
ration. Scarcely had Gringoire raised this intoxicating cup 
of triumph and delight to his lips than a drop of bitterness 
came to mingle with it. 

A beggar, a shocking tatterdemalion, too tightly squeezed 
in among the crowd to be able to collect his usual harvest, or, 
in all probability, had not found sufficient to indemnify him- 
self in the pockets of his immediate neighbours, had conceived 
the bright idea of perching himself in some conspicuous spot 


Pierre Gringoire 

from whence he might attract the gaze and the alms of the 
benevolent. To this end, during the opening lines of the 
prologue, he had managed to hoist himself up by the pillars 
of the reserved platform on to the cornice which projected 
around the foot of its balustrade, where he seated himself, 
soliciting the attention and the pity of the throng by his rags 
and a hideous sore covering his right arm. He did not, how- 
ever, utter a word. 

The silence he preserved allowed of the prologue pro- 
ceeding without let or hindrance, nor would any noticeable 
disturbance have occurred if, as luck would have it, the 
scholar Jehan had not, from his own high perch, espied the 
beggar and his antics. A wild fit of laughter seized the grace- 
less young rascal, and, unconcerned at interrupting the per- 
formance and distracting the attention of the audience, he 
cried delightedly : 

" Oh, look at that old fraud over there begging ! " 

Any one who has ever thrown a stone into a frog-pond, 
or fired into a covey of birds, will have some idea of the 
effect of these incongruous words breaking in upon the all- 
pervading quiet. Gringoire started as if he had received an 
electric shock. The prologue broke off short, and all heads 
turned suddenly towards the beggar, who, far from being 
disconcerted, only saw in this incident an excellent oppor- 
tunity for gathering a harvest, and at once began whining in 
a piteous voice with half-closed eyes : " Charity, I pray you ! " 

" Why, upon my soul ! " cried Jehan, " if it isn't Clopin 
Trouillefou ! Hola ! friend, so thy sore was troublesome on 
thy leg that thou hast removed it to thipe arm ? " and so 
saying, with the dexterity of a monkey he tossed a small 
silver piece into the greasy old beaver which the beggar held 
out with his diseased arm. The man received both alms and 
sarcasm without wincing, and resumed his doleful petition : 
" Charity, I pray you ! " 

This episode had distracted the audience not a little, and 
a good many of the spectators, Robin Poussepain and the 
rest of the students at the head, delightedly applauded this 
absurd duet improvised in the middle of the prologue between 
the scholar with his shrill, piping voice, and the beggar with 
his imperturbable whine. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

Gringoire was seriously put out. Recovering from his 
first stupefaction, he pulled himself together hurriedly and 
shouted to the four actors on the stage: " Go on! que diable! 
go on ! " without deigning even a glance of reprobation at 
the two brawlers. 

At that moment he felt a pluck at the edge of his surcoat, 
and turning round, not in the best of humours, he forced 
an unwilling smile to his lips, for it was the pretty hand of 
Gisquette la Gencienne thrust through the balustrade and 
thus soliciting his attention. 

" Monsieur," said the girl, " are they going on ? " 

" To be sure," Gringoire replied, half offended by the 

" In that case, messire," she continued, " will you of your 
courtesy explain to me " 

" What they are going to say ? " broke in Gringoire. 
" Well, listen." 

" No," said Gisquette ; " but what they have already said." 

Gringoire started violently like a man touched in an open 
wound. " A pestilence on the witless little dunce ! " he mut- 
tered between his teeth ; and from that moment Gisquette 
was utterly lost in his estimation. 

Meanwhile the actors had obeyed his injunction, and the 
public, seeing that they were beginning to speak, resettled 
itself to listen; not, however, without having lost many a 
beautiful phrase in the soldering of the two parts of the piece 
which had so abruptly been cut asunder. Gringoire reflected 
bitterly on this fact. However, tranquility had gradually been 
restored, Jehan was silent, the beggar was counting the small 
change in his hat, and the play had once more got the 
upper hand. 

Sooth to say, it was a very fine work which, it seems to 
us, might well be turned to account even now with a few 
modifications. The exposition, perhaps somewhat lengthy 
and dry, but strictly according to prescribed rules, was simple, 
and Gringoire, in the inner sanctuary of his judgment, frankly 
admired its perspicuity. 

As one might very well suppose, the four allegorical per- 
sonages were somewhat fatigued after having travelled over 
three parts of the globe without finding an opportunity of 


Pierre Gringoire 

disposing suitably of their golden dolphin. Thereupon, a 
■^ong eulogy on the marvellous fish, with a thousand delicate 
allusions to the young betrothed of Marguerite of Flanders — 
who at that moment was languishing in dismal seclusion at 
Amboise, entirely unaware that Labour and Clergy, Nobility 
and Commerce, had just made the tour of the world on his 
behalf. The said dolphin, then, w^as handsome, was young, 
v/as brave ; above all (splendid origin of all the royal virtues) 
he was the son of the Lion of France. Now I maintain that 
tEis bold metaphor is admirable, and the natural history of the 
stage has no occasion on a day of allegory and royal epitha- 
lamium to take exception at a dolphin who is son to a lion. 
These rare and Pindaric combinations merely prove the poet's 
enthusiasm. Nevertheless, in justice to fair criticism be it 
said, the poet might have developed this beautiful idea in less 
than two hundred lines. On the other hand, by the arrange- 
ments of Monsieur the Provost, the Mystery was to last from 
noon till four o'clock, and they were obliged to say something. 
Besides, the people listened very patiently. 

Suddenly, in the very middle of a quarrel between Dame 
Commerce and my Lady Nobility, and just as Labour was 
pronouncing this wonderful line : 

"Beast more triumphant ne'er in woods I've seen," 

the door of the reserved platform which up till then had 
remained inopportunely closed, now opened still more inop- 
portunely, and the stentorian voice of the usher announced 
" His Eminence Monseigneur the Cardinal de Bourbon ! " 



Alas, poor Gringoire ! The noise of the double petards 
let oflf on Saint-John's Day, a salvo of twenty arquebuses, the 
thunder of the famous culverin of the Tour de Billy, which 
on September 29, 1465, during the siege of Paris, killed 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

seven Burgundians at a blow, the explosion of the whole 
stock of gunpowder stored at the Temple Gate would have 
assailed his ears less rudely at this solemn and dramatic 
moment than those few words from the lips of the usher: 
" His Eminence the Cardinal de Bourbon ! " 

Not that Pierre Gringoire either feared the Cardinal or 
despised him ; he was neither so weak nor so presumptuous. 
A true eclectic, as nowadays he would be called, Gringoire 
was of those firm and elevated spirits, moderate and calm^ 
who ever maintain an even balance — stare in dimidio rerum — 
arid who are full of sense and liberal philosophy, to whom 
Wisdom, like another Ariadne, seems to have given a ball 
of thread which they have gone on unwinding since the be- 
ginning of all things through the labyrinthine paths of human 
afifairs. One comes upon them in all ages and ever the same ; 
that is to say, ever conforming to the times. And without 
counting our Pierre Gringoire, who would represent them in 
the fifteenth century if we could succeed in conferring on him 
the distinction he merits, it was certainly their spirit which 
inspired Father de Bruel in the sixteenth century, when he 
wrote the following sublimely naive w^ords, worthy of all ages : 
" I am Parisian by nation, and parrhisian by speech, since 
parrhisia in Greek signifies freedom of speech, which freedom 
I have used even towards Messeigneurs the Cardinals, uncle 
and brother to Monseigneur the Prince de Conty : albeit with 
due respect for their high degree and without offending any 
one of their train, which is saying much." 

There was therefore neither dislike of the Cardinal nor 
contemptuous indifference to his presence in the unpleasing 
impression made on Gringoire. Quite the contrary ; for our 
poet had too much common sense and too threadbare a 
doublet not to attach particular value to the fact that many 
an allusion in his prologue, and more especially the glorifica- 
tion of the dolphin, son of the Lion of France, would fall 
upon the ear of an Eminentissime. But self-interest is not the 
predominating quality in the noble nature of the poet. Sup- 
posing the entity of the poet to be expressed by the number 
ten, it is certain that a chemist in analyzing and " pharma- 
copoeizing " it, as Rabelais terms it, would find it to be com- 
posed of one part self-interest to nine parts of self-esteem. 


The Cardinal 

Now, at the moment when the door opened for the Cardinal's 
entry, Gringoire's nine parts of self-esteem, swollen and in- 
flated by the breath of popular admiration, were in a state 
of prodigious enlargement, obliterating that almost imper- 
ceptible molecule of self-interest which we just now pointed 
out as a component part of the poet's constitution — a priceless 
ingredient, be it said, the ballast of common sense and hu- 
manity, without which they would forever wander in the 
clouds. Gringoire was revelling in the delights of seeing, 
of, so to speak, touching, an entire assemblage (common folk, 
it is true, but what of that?) stunned, petrified, suffocated 
almost by the inexhaustible flow of words which poured down 
upon them from every point of his epithalamium, I affirm 
that he shared in the general beatitude, and that, unlike La 
Fontaine, who, at the performance of his comedy Florentin, 
inquired, " What bungler wrote this balderdash? " Gringoire 
would gladly have asked his neighbours, " Who is the author 
of this master-piece ? " Judge, therefore, of the effect pro- 
duced on him by the abrupt and ill-timed arrival of the 

And his worst fears were but too fully realized. The entry 
of his Eminence set the whole audience in commotion. 
Every head was turned towards the gallery. You could not 
hear yourself speak. " The Cardinal ! The Cardinal ! " re- 
sounded from every mouth. For the second time the un- 
fortunate prologue came to an abrupt stop. 

The Cardinal halted for a moment on the threshold of 
the platform, and while he cast a glance of indifiference over 
the crowd the uproar increased. Each one wanted a good 
view, and strained to raise his head above his neighbour's. 

And in truth he was a very exalted personage, the sight 
of whom was worth any amount of Mysteries. Charles, 
Cardinal de Bourbon, Archbishop and Count of Lyons, Pri- 
mate of all Gaul, was related to Louis XI through his brother, 
Pierre, Lord of Beaujeu, who had married the King's eldest 
daughter, and to Charles the Bold through his mother, Agnes 
of Burgundy. The dominant trait, the prevailing and most 
striking feature in the character of the Primate of Gaul, was 
his courtier spirit and unswerving devotion to the powers that 
be. One may imagine the innumerable perplexities in which 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

these two relationships involved him, and through what 
temporal shoals he had to steer his spiritual bark in order to 
avoid being wrecked either on Louis or on Charles, that 
Scylla and Charybdis which had swallowed up both the Duke 
of Nemours and the Constable of Saint-Pol. . Heaven be 
praised, however, he had managed the voyage well, and had 
come safely to anchor in Rome without mishap. Yet, al- 
though he was in port, and precisely because he was in port, 
he never recalled without a qualm of uneasiness the many 
changes and chances of his long and stormy political voyage, 
and he often said that the year 1476 had been for him both 
black and white ; meaning that in that year he had lost his 
mother, the Duchess of Bourbonnais, and his cousin, the 
Duke of Burgundy, and that the one death had consoled hi,m 
for the other. 

For the rest, he was a proper gentleman; led the pleasant 
life befitting a cardinal, was ever willing to make merry on 
the royal vintage of Chaillot, had no objection to Richarde 
de la Garmoise and Thomasse la Saillarde, would rather give 
alms to a pretty girl than an old woman, for all of which 
reasons he was high in favour with the populace of Paris. 
He was always surrounded by a little court of bishops and 
abbots of high degree, gay and sociable gentlemen, never 
averse to a thorough good dinner; and many a time had the 
pious gossips of Saint-Germain d'Auxerre been scandalized in 
passing at night under the lighted windows of the Hotel de 
Bourbon, to hear the selfsame voices which erstwhile had 
chanted vespers for them now trolling out, to the jingle of 
glasses, the bacchanalian verses of Benedict XH (the Pope 
who added the third crown to the tiara) beginning " Bibamus 
papaliter " (Let us drink like Popes). 

Without doubt it was this well-earned popularity which 
saved him from any demonstration of ill-will on the part of 
the crowd, so dissatisfied but a moment before, and but little 
disposed to evince respect towards a Cardinal on the very 
day they were going to elect a Pope of their own. But the 
Parisians bear very little malice ; besides, having forced the 
performance to commence of their own authority, they had 
worsted the Cardinal, and their victor}^ sufficed them. More- 
over, Monseigneur was a handsome man, and he wore his 


The Cardinal 

handsome red robe excellently well; which is equivalent to 
saying that he had all the women, and consequently the 
greater part of the audience, on his side. Decidedly it would 
have shown great want both of justice and of good taste to 
hoot a Cardinal for coming late to the play, when he is a 
handsome man and wears his red robe with so handsome 
an air. 

He entered then, greeted the audience with that smile 
which the great instinctively bestow upon the people, awd 
slowly directed his steps towards his chair of scarlet velvet, 
his mind obviously preoccupied by some very different matter. 
His train, or what we should now call his staff, of bishops 
and abbots, streamed after him on to the platform, greatly 
increasing the disturbance and the curiosity down among the 
spectators. Each one was anxious to point them out or name 
them, to show that he knew at least one of them ; some point- 
ing to the Bishop of Marseilles — Alaudet, if I remember right 
— some to the Dean of Saint-Denis, others again to Robert de 
Lespinasse, Abbot of Saint-Germain-des-Pres, the dissolute 
brother of a mistress of Louis XI, all with much ribald laugh- 
ter and scurrilous jesting. 

As for the scholars, they swore like troopers. This was 
their own especial day, their Feast of Fools, their Saturnalia, 
the annual orgy of the Basoche * and the University — no 
turpitude, no foulness of language but was right and proper 
to that day. Besides, there was many a madcap light o' love 
down in the crowd to spur them on — Simone Ouatrelivres, 
Agnes la Gadine, Robine Piedebou. It was the least that 
could be expected, that they should be allowed to curse at 
their ease and blaspheme a little on so joyful an occasion and 
in such good company — churchmen and courtesans. Nor did 
they hesitate to take full advantage thereof, and into the midst 
of the all-prevailing hubbub there poured an appalling torrent 
of blasphemies and enormities of every description from these 
clerks and scholars, tongue-tied all the rest of the year 
through fear of the branding-iron of Saint-Louis. Poor Saint- 
Louis, they were snapping their fingers at him in his own 
Palais de Justice. Each one of them had singled out among 

The company and jurisdiction of the Paris lawyers, founded 1303. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

the new arrivals some cassock — black or gray, white or violet 
— Joannes Frollo de Molendino, as brother to an archdeacon, 
having audaciously assailed the red robe, fixing his bold eyes 
on the Cardinal and yelling at the pitch of his voice, " Cappa 
rcplcta mero!" Oh, cassock full of wine! 

But all these details which we thus lay bare for the edifica- 
tion of the reader were so overborne by the general clamour 
that they failed altogether to reach the reserved platform. In 
any case the Cardinal would have taken but little heed of 
them, such license being entirely in keeping with the man- 
ners of the day. Besides, his mind was full of something else, 
as was evident by his preoccupied air; a cause of concern 
which followed close upon his heels and entered almost at 
the time with him on to the platform. This was the Flemish 

Not that he was a profound politician and thus concerned 
for the possible consequences of the marriage between his 
one cousin, Madame Marguerite of Burgundy, and his other 
cousin, the Dauphin Charles ; little he cared how long the 
patched-up friendship between the Duke of Austria and the 
King of France would last, nor how the King of England 
would regard this slight offered to his daughter, and he drank 
freely each evening of the royal vintage of Chaillot, never 
dreaming that a few flagons of this same wine (somewhat 
revised and corrected, it is true), cordially presented to Ed- 
ward IV by Louis XI, would serve one fine day to rid Louis 
XI of Edward IV. No, " the most honourable Embassy of 
Monsieur the Duke of Austria " brought none of these anxie- 
ties to the Cardinal's mind ; the annoyance came from another 
quarter. In truth, it was no small hardship, as we have 
already hinted at the beginning of this book, that he, Charles 
of Bourbon, should be forced to offer a courteous welcome 
and entertainment to a squad of unknown burghers ; he, the 
Cardinal, receive mere sheriffs ; he, the Frenchman, a polished 
hon-viveur, and these beer-drinking Flemish boors — and all 
this in public too! Faith, it was one of the most irksome 
parts he had ever had to play at the good pleasure of the 

However, he had studied that part so well, that when the 
usher announced in sonorous tones, " Messieurs, the Envoys 


The Cardinal 

of Monsieur the Duke of Austria," he turned towards the 
door with the most courteous grace in the world. Needless 
to say, every head in the Hall turned in the same direction. 

Thereupon there entered, walking two and two, and with 
a gravity of demeanour which contrasted strongly with the 
flippant manner of the Cardinal's ecclesiastical following, the 
forty-eight ambassadors of Maximilian of Austria, led by the 
Reverend Father in God, Jehan, Abbot of Saint-Bertin, Chan- 
cellor of the Golden Fleece, and Jacques de Goy, Sieur Dauby, 
baillie of Ghent. Deep silence fell upon the assemblage, only 
broken by suppressed titters at the uncouth names and bour- 
geois qualifications which each of these persons transmitted 
with imperturbable gravity to the usher, who proceeded to 
hurl name and title unrecognisably mixed and mutilated, at 
'the crowd below. There was Master Loys Roelof, Sheriff of 
the City of Louvain ; Messire Clays d'Etuelde, Sheriff of Brus- 
sels; Messire Paul de Baeust, Sieur of Voirmizelle, President 
of Flanders ; Master Jehan Coleghens, Burgomaster of the 
City of Antwerp ; Master George de la Moere, High Sheriff 
of the Court of Law of the City of Ghent; Master Gheldolf 
van der Hage, High Sheriff to the Parchons, or Succession 
Offices of the same city ; and the Sieur de Bierbecque, and 
Jehan Pinnock, and Jehan Dymaerzelle, and so on and so on ; 
baillies, sheriffs, burgomasters ; burgomasters, sheriffs, baillies ; 
wooden, formal figures, stiff with velvet and damask, their 
heads covered by birettas of black velvet with great tassels 
of gold thread of Cyprus — good Flemish heads, nevertheless, 
dignified and sober faces, akin to those which stand out so 
strong and earnest from the dark background of Rembrandt's 
" Night Round " ; faces which all bore witness to the perspi- 
cacity of Maximilian of Austria in confiding " to the full" as 
his manifesto ran, " in their good sense, valour , experietice, 
loyalty, and high principles." 

There was one exception, however, a subtle, intelligent, 
crafty face, a curious mixture of the ape and the diplomatist, 
towards whom the Cardinal advanced three paces and bowed 
profoundly, but who, nevertheless, was simply named Guil- 
laume Rym, Councillor and Pensionary* of the City of Ghent. 

* Title, in those days, of the first Minister of State in Holland. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

Few people at that time recognised the true significance of 
Guillaume Rym. A rare genius who, in revolutionary times, 
would have appeared upon the surface of events, the fifteenth 
century compelled him to expend his fine capacities on under- 
ground intrigue — to live in the saps, as Saint-Simon expresses 
it. For the rest, he found full appreciation with the first 
" sapper " of Europe, being intimately associated with Louis 
XI in his plots, and often had a hand in the secret machina- 
tions of the King. All of which things were entirely beyond 
the ken of the multitude, who were much astonished at the 
deferential politeness of the Cardinal towards this insignificant- 
looking little Flemish functionary. 



While the Pensionary of Ghent and his Eminence were 
exchanging very low bows and a few words in a tone still 
lower, a tall man, large-featured and of powerful build, pre- 
pared to enter abreast with Gviillaume Rym — the mastifif with 
the fox — his felt hat and leathern jerkin contrasting oddly 
with all the surrounding velvet and silk. Presuming that it 
was some groom gone astray, the usher stopped him : 

" Hold, friend, this is not your way ! " 

The man in the leathern jerkin shouldered him aside. 

" What does the fellow want of me ? " said he in a voice 
which drew the attention of the entire Hall to the strange 
colloquy; " seest not that I am one of them?" 

" Your name ? " demanded the usher. 

" Jacques Coppenole." 

" Your degree ? " 

" Hosier, at the sign of the ' Three Chains ' in Ghent." 

The usher recoiled. To announce sheriff and burgomaster 
was bad enough ; but a hosier — no, that passed all bounds ! 
The Cardinal was on thorns. Everybody was staring and 
listening. For two whole days had his Eminence been doing 
his utmost to lick these Flemish bears into shape in order 


Master Jacques Coppenole 

to make them somewhat presentable in public — this contre- 
temps was a rude shock. 

Meanwhile Guillaume Rym turned to the usher and with 
his diplomatic smile, " Announce Maitre Jacques Coppenole, 
Clerk to the Sheriffs of the City of Ghent," he whispered to 
him very softly. 

" Usher," added the Cardinal loudly, " announce Maitre 
Jacques Coppenole, Clerk to the Sheriffs of the illustrious 
City of Ghent." 

This was a mistake. Left to himself, Guillaume Rym 
would have dexterously settled the difficulty ; but Coppenole 
had heard the Cardinal. 

" No, Croix-Dieu ! " he said in a voice of thunder, " Jac- 
ques Coppenole, hosier. Hearest thou, usher? Nothing- 
more, nothing less ! God's cross ! Hosier is as fine a title 
as any other! Many a time Monsieur the Archduke has 
looked for his glove * among my hose ! " 

There was a roar of laughter and applause. A pun is 
instantly taken up in Paris, and never fails of applause. 

Add to this that Coppenole was one of the people, and 
that the throng beneath him was also composed of the peoplCj 
wherefore, the understanding between them and him had been 
instantaneous, electric, and, so to speak, from the same point 
of view. The Flemish hosier's high and mighty way of put- 
ting down the courtiers stirred in these plebeian breasts a cer- 
tain indefinable sense of self-respect, vague and embryonic 
as yet in the fifteenth century. And this hosier, who just 
now had held his own so stoutly before the Cardinal, was one 
of themselves — a most comfortable reflection to poor devils 
accustomed to pay respect and obedience to the servants of 
the servants of the Abbot of Sainte-Genevieve, the Cardinal's 

Coppenole saluted his Eminence haughtily, who courte- 
ously returned the greeting of the all-powerful burgher, whom 
even Louis XI feared. Then, while Guillaume Rym, '' that 
shrewd and malicious man," as Philippe de Comines says, 
followed them both with a mocking and supercilious smile, 

* A pun on the word ganf (glove) and Gatid, the French name for the 
city of Ghent. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

each soiigfht their appointed place, the Cardinal discomfited 
and anxious, Coppenole calm and dignified, and thinking no 
doubt that after all his title of hosier was as good as any 
other, and that Mary of Burgundy, the mother of that Mar- 
garet whose marriage Coppenole was helping to arrange, 
would have feared him less as cardinal than as hosier. For 
it was not a cardinal who would have stirred up the people 
of Ghent against the favourites of the daughter of Charles 
the Bold, and no cardinal could have hardened the crowd with 
a word against her tears and entreaties when the Lady of 
Flanders came to supplicate her people for them, even at the 
foot of their scaffold ; whereas the hosier had but to lift his 
leather-clad arm, and off went your heads my fine gentlemen. 
Seigneur Guy d'Hymbercourt and Chancellor Guillaurae 
Hugonet ! 

Yet this was not all that was in store for the poor Cardinal ; 
he was to drink to the dregs the cup of humiliation — the pen- 
alty of being in such low company. 

The reader may perhaps remember the impudent mendi- 
cant who, at the beginning of the Prologue, had established 
himself upon the projection just below the Cardinal's plat- 
form. The arrival of the illustrious guests had in nowise 
made him quit his position, and while prelates and ambassa- 
dors were packed on the narrow platform like Dutch herrings 
in a barrel, the beggar sat quite at his ease with his legs 
crossed comfortably on the architrave. It was a unique piece 
of insolence, but nobody had noticed it as yet, the attention 
of the public being directed elsewhere. For his part, he took 
no notice of what was going on, but kept wagging his head 
from side to side with the unconcern of a Neapolitan lazza- 
rone, and mechanically repeating his droning appeal, " Charity, 
I pray you ! " Certain it was, he was the only person in the 
whole vast audience who never even deigned to turn his head 
at the altercation between Coppenole and the usher. Now, 
it so chanced that the master hosier of Ghent, with whom the 
people were already so much in sympathy and on whom all 
eyes were fixed, came and seated himself in the first row on 
the platform, just above the beggar. What was the amaze- 
ment of the company to see the Flemish ambassador, after 
examining the strange figure beneath him, lean over and clap 


Master Jacques Coppenole 

the ragged shoulder amicably. The beggar turned — surprise, 
recognition, and pleasure beamed from the two faces — then, 
absolutely regardless of their surroundings, the hosier and 
the sham leper fell to conversing in low tones and hand clasped 
in hand, Clopin Trouillefou's ragged arm against the cloth of 
gold draperies of the balustrade, looking like a caterpillar on 
an orange. 

The novelty of this extraordinary scene excited such a stir 
of merriment in the Hall that the Cardinal's attention was 
attracted. He bent forward, but being unable from where he 
sat to do more than catch a very imperfect glimpse of Trouille- 
fou's unsightly coat, he naturally imagined that it was merely 
a beggar asking alms, and, incensed at his presumption — 

" Monsieur the Provost of the Palais, fling me this rascal 
into the river ! " he cried. 

" Croix-Dieu ! Monseigneur the Cardinal," said Coppenole 
without leaving hold of Trouillefou's hand, " it's a friend ol 

" Noel ! Noel ! " shouted the crowd ; and from that moment 
Master Coppenole enjoyed in Paris as in Ghent " great favour 
with the people, as men of his stamp ahvays do," says Philippe < 
de Comines, " zvhen they are thus indiifcrent to authority." ^ 

The Cardinal bit his lip, then he leaned over to his neigh- 
hour, the Abbot of Sainte-Genevieve : 

" Droll ambassadors these, whom Monsieur the Archduke 
sends to announce Madame Marguerite to us," he said in a 
half whisper. 

" Your Eminence wastes his courtesy on these Flemish 
hogs," returned the Abbot. " Margaritas ante porcos." 

" Say rather," retorted the Cardinal with a smile, " Porcos 
ante Margaritam." 

This little jeu de mots sent the whole cassocked court into 
ecstasies. The Cardinal's spirits rose somewhat ; he was quits 
now with Coppenole — he, too, had had a pun applauded. 

And now, with such of our readers as have the power to 
generalize an image and an idea, as it is the fashion to say 
nowadays, permit us to ask if they are able to form a clear 
picture of the scene presented by the vast parallelogram of 
the great Hall at the moment to which we draw their atten- 
tion. In the middle of the western wall is the masrni'^- ^^ 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

and spacious platform draped with cloth of gold, entered by 
a small Gothic doorway, through which files a procession of 
grave and reverend personages whose names are announced 
in succession by the strident voice of the usher. The first 
benches are already occupied by a crowd of venerable figures 
muffled in robes of ermine, velvet, and scarlet cloth. Around 
this platform — on which reigns decorous silence — below, op- 
posite, everywhere, the seething multitude, the continuous 
hum of voices, all eyes fixed on every face on the platform, 
a thousand muttered repetitions of each name. In truth, a 
curious spectacle and worthy of the attention of the spectators. 
But stay, what is that kind of erection at the opposite end of 
the Hall, having four party-coloured puppets on it and four 
others underneath ; and who is that pale figure standing beside 
it clad in sombre black? Alas! dear reader, it is none other 
than Pierre Gringoire and his Prologue, both of which we had 
utterly forgotten. 

And that is exactly what he had feared. 

From the moment when the Cardinal entered, Gringoire 
had never ceased to exert himself to keep his Prologue above 
water. First he had vehemently urged the actors, who had 
faltered, and stopped short, to proceed and raise their voices; 
then, perceiving that nobody was listening to them, he stopped 
them again, and during the quarter of an hour the interruption 
had lasted had never ceased tapping his foot impatiently, 
fuming, calling upon Gisquette and Lienarde, urging those 
near him to insist on the continuation of the Prologue — in 
vain. Not one of them would transfer his attention from the 
Cardinal, the Embassy, the platform — the one centre of this 
vast radius of vision. It must also be admitted, and we say 
it with regret, that by the time his Eminence appeared on 
the scene and caused so marked a diversion, the audience was 
beginning to find the Prologue just a little tedious. After all, 
whether you looked at the platform or the marble table, the 
play was the same — the conflict between Labour and Clergy, 
Aristocracy and Commerce. And most of them preferred to 
Avatch these personages as they lived and breathed, elbowing 
each other in actual flesh and blood on the platform, in the 
Flemish Embassy, under the Cardinal's robe or Coppenole's 
leathern jerkin, than painted, tricked out, speaking in stilted 

38 :: 

Master Jacques Coppenole 

verse, mere dummies stuffed into yellow and white tunics, as 
Gringoire represented them. 

Nevertheless, seeing tranquility somewhat restored, our 
poet bethought him of a stratagem which might have been 
the saving of the whole thing. 

" Monsieur," said he, addressing a man near him, a stout, 
worthy person with a long-suffering countenance, '' now, how 
would it be if they were to begin it again ? " 

"What?" asked the man. 

" Why, the Mystery," said Gringoire. 

" Just as you please," returned the other. 

This half consent was enough for Gringoire, and taking 
the business into his own hands, he began calling out, mak- 
ing himself as much one of the crowd as possible : " Begin 
the Mystery again ! Begin again ! " 

" What the devil's all the hubbub about down there ? " 
said Joannes de Molendino (for Gringoire was making noise 
enough for half a dozen). " What, comrades, is the Mystery 
not finished and done with ? They are going to begin again ; 
that's not fair ! " 

" No ! no ! " shouted the scholars in chorus. " Down with 
the Mystery — down with it ! " 

But Gringoire only multiplied himself and shouted the 
louder, " Begin again ! begin again ! " 

These conflicting shouts at last attracted the attention of 
the Cardinal. 

" Monsieur the Provost of the Palais," said he to a tall 
man in black standing a few paces from him, " have these folk 
gone demented that they are making such an infernal noise ? " 

The Provost of the Palais was a sort of amphibious magis- 
trate ; the bat, as it were, of the judicial order, partaking at 
once of the nature of the rat and the bird, the judge and 
the soldier. 

He approached his Eminence, and with no slight fear of 
his displeasure, explained in faltering accents the unseemly 
behaviour of the populace : how, the hour of noon having 
arrived before his Eminence, the players had been forced into 
commencing without waiting for his Eminence. 

The Cardinal burst out laughing. 

" By my faith, Monsieur the Rector of the University 

D 39 Vol. 4 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

might well have done likewise. What say you Maitre Guil- 
laume Rym ? " 

" Monseigneur," replied Rym, " let us be content with 
having missed half the play. That is so much gained at 
any rate." 

" Have the fellows permission to proceed with their mum- 
meries?" inquired the Provost. 

" Oh, proceed, proceed," returned the Cardinal ; " 'tis all 
one to me. Meanwhile I can be reading my breviary." 

The Provost advanced to the front of the platform, and 
after obtaining silence by a motion of the hand, called out : 

"Burghers, country and townsfolk, to satisfy those who 
desire the play should begin again and those who desire it 
should finish, his Eminence orders that it should continue." 

Thus both parties had to be content. Nevertheless, both 
author and audience long bore the Cardinal a grudge in 

The persons on the stage accordingly resumed the thread 
of their discourse, and Gringoire hoped that at least the 
remainder of his great work would get a hearing. But this 
hope was doomed to speedy destruction like his other illusions. 
Silence had indeed been established to a certain extent, but 
Gringoire had not observed that when the Cardinal gave the 
order for the Mystery to proceed, the platform was far from 
being filled, and that the Flemish ambassadors were followed 
by other persons belonging to the rest of the cortege, whose 
names and titles, hurled intermittently by the usher into the 
midst of his dialogue, caused considerable havoc therein. 
Imagine the effect in a drama of to-day of the doorkeeper 
bawling between the lines, or even between the first two 
halves of an alexandrine, such parentheses as these : 

" Maitre Jacques Charmolue, Procurator of the King in 
the Ecclesiastical Court ! " 

" Jehan de Harlay, Esquire, Officer of the Mounted Night 
Watch of the City of Paris ! " 

" Messire Galiot de Genoilhac, Knight, Lord of Brussac, 
Chief of the King's Artillery ! " 

" Maitre Dreux-Raguier, Inspector of Waters and Forests 
of our Lord the King, throughout the lands of France, Cham- 
pagne, and Brie ! " 


Master Jacques Coppenole 

" Messire Louis de Graville, Knight, Councillor and 
Chamberlain to the King, Admiral of France, Ranger of the 
Forest of Vincennes ! " 

" Maitre Denis le Mercier, Custodian to the House for 
the Blind in Paris ! " etc., etc., etc. 

It was insufferable. 

This peculiar accompaniment, which made it so difficult ■ 
to follow the piece, was the more exasperating to Gringoire 
as he was well aware that the interest increased rapidly as 
the work advanced, and that it only wanted hearing to be a 
complete success. It would indeed be difficult to imagine a 
plot more ingeniously and dramatica'lly constructed. The , 
four characters of the Prologue were still engaged in bewailing 
their hopeless dilemma when Venus herself, vera incessu pattiit 
dca, appeared before them, wearing a splendid robe embla- 
zoned with the ship of the city of Paris.* She had come to 
claim for herself the dolphin promised to the Most Fair. She 
had the support of Jupiter, whose thunder was heard rumbling 
in the dressing-room, and the goddess was about to bear away 
her prize — in other words, to espouse Monsieur the Dauphin 
— when a little girl, clad in white damask, and holding a daisy 
in her hand (transparent personification of Marguerite of 
Flanders), arrived on the scene to contest it with Venus. 
Coup de theatre and quick change. After a brisk dispute, 
Marguerite, Venus, and the side characters agreed to refer 
Ihe matter to the good judgment of the Blessed Virgin. 
There was another fine part, that of Don Pedro, King of 
Mesopotamia ; but it was difficult amid so many interruptions 
to make out exactly what was his share in the transaction. 
And all this had scrambled up the ladder. 

But the play was done for ; not one of these many beauties 
was heard or understood. Xt seemed as if, with the entrance 
of the Cardinal, an invisible and magic thread had suddenly 
drawn all eyes from the marble table to the platform, from 
the southern to the western side of the Hall. Nothing could 
break the spell, all eyes were tenaciously fixed in that direc- 
tion, and each fresh arrival, his detestable name, his appear- 

* The arms of the city of Paris show a ship on heaving billows and 
the motto " Fluctuat nee mergittir." 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

ance, his dress, made a new diversion. Excepting Gisquette 
and Lienarde, who turned from time to time if Gringoire 
plucked them by the sleeve, and tiie big, patient man, not a 
soul was listening, not one face was turned towards the poor, 
deserted Morality. Gringoire looked upon an unbroken vista 
of profiles. 

With what bitterness did he watch his fair palace of fame 
and poetry crumble away bit by bit ! And to think that these 
same people had been on the point of rioting from impatience 
to hear his piece] And now that they had got it, they cared 
not a jot for it — the very same performance which had com- 
menced amid such unanimous applause. Eternal flow and 
ebb of popular favour ! And to think they had nearly hanged 
the sergeants of the Provost ! What would he not have given 
to go back to that honey-sweet moment ! 

However, at last all the guests had arrived and the usher's 
brutal monologue perforce came to an end. Gringoire heaved 
a sigh of relief. The actors spouted away bravely. Then, 
what must Master Coppenole the hosier do but start up sud- 
denly, and in the midst of undivided attention deliver himself 
of the following abominable harangue : 

" Messires the burghers and squires of Paris, hang me if 
I know what we're all doing here. To be sure, I do perceive 
over in that corner on a sort of stage some people who look 
as if they were going to fight. I do not know if this is 
what you call a Mystery, but I am quite certain it is not 
very amusing. They wrestle only with their tongues. For 
the last quarter of an hour I have been waiting to see the 
first blow struck, but nothing happens. They are poltroons, 
and maul one another only with foul words. You should 
have had some fighters over from London or Rotterdam, then 
there would have been some pretty fisticuffing if you like — 
blows that could have been heard out on the Place. But 
these are sorry folk. They should at least give us a Morris- 
dance or some such mummery. This is not what I had 
been given to expect. I had been promised a Feast of Fools 
and the election of a Pope. We too have our pope of fools 
at Ghent, in that we are behind nobody. Croix-Dieu! This 
is how we manage it. We get a crowd together as here ; 
then everybody in turn thrusts his head through a hole and 



pulls a face at the others. The one who by universal con- 
sent makes the ugliest face is chosen Pope. That's our way. 
It's most diverting. Shall we choose your Pope after the 
same fashion? It would at any rate be less tedious than 
Ifstening to these babblers. If they like to take their turn 
at grimacing they're welcome. What say you, my masters? 
We have here sufficiently queer samples of both sexes to 
give us a good Flemish laugh, and enough ugly faces to 
justify our hopes of a beautiful grimace." 

Gringoire would fain have replied, but stupefaction, wrath, 
and indignation rendered him speechless. Besides, the pro- 
posal of the popular hosier was received with such enthusiasm 
by these townsfolk, so flattered by being addressed as squires, 
that further resistance was useless. There was nothing for it 
but to go with the stream. Gringoire buried his face in his 
hands, not being fortunate enough to possess a mantle 
wherewith to veil his countenance like the Agamemnon of 


In a twinkling burghers, students, and Basochians had 
set to work, and all was ready to carry out Coppenole's sug- 
gestion. The little chapel facing the marble table was chosen 
as the mise en scene of the grimaces. A pane of glass was 
broken out of the charming rose-window above the door, 
leaving an empty ring of stone, through which the competi- 
tors were to thrust their heads, while two barrels, procured 
from goodness knows where, and balanced precariously on the 
top of one another, enabled them to mount up to it. It was 
then agreed that, in order that the impression of the grimace 
might reach the beholder in full unbroken purity, each candi- 
date, whether male or female (for there could be a female 
pope), was to cover his face and remain concealed in the 
chapel till the moment of his appearance. 

In an instant the chapel was filled with competitors, and 
the doors closed upon them. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

From his place on the platform Coppenole ordered every- 
thing, directed everything, arranged everything. During the 
hubbub, and pretexting vespers and other affairs of impor- 
tance, the Cardinal, no less disconcerted than Gringoire, re- 
tired with his whole suite, and the crowd, which had evinced 
so lively an interest in his arrival, was wholly unmoved by 
his departure. Guillaume Rym alone noticed the rout of his 

Popular attention, like the sun, pursued its even course. 
Starting at one end of the Hall, it remained stationary for a 
time in the middle, and was now at the other end. The 
marble table, the brocade-covered platform, had had their 
day ; now it was the turn of the Chapel of Louis XI. The 
field was clear for every sort of folly ; the Flemings and the 
rabble were masters of the situation. 

The pulling of faces began. The first to appear in the 
opening — eye-lids turned inside out, the gaping mouth of a 
ravening beast, the brow creased and wrinkled like the hussar 
boots of the Empire period — was greeted with such a roar 
of inextinguishable laughter that Homer would have taken 
all these ragamuffins for gods. 

Nevertheless, the great Hall was anything rather than 
Olympus, as Gringoire's poor Jupiter knew to his cost, A 
second, a third distortion followed, to be succeeded by another 
and another; and with each one the laughter redoubled, and 
the crowd stamped and roared its delight. There was in the 
whole scene a peculiar frenzy, a certain indescribable sense 
of intoxication and fascination almost impossible to convey 
to the reader of our times and social habits. 

Picture to yourself a series of faces representing suc- 
cessively every geometrical form, from the triangle to the 
trapezium, from the cone to the polyhedron ; every human 
expression, from rage to lewdness ; every stage of life, from 
the creases of the newly born to the wrinkles of hoary age ; 
every phantasm of mythology and religion, from Faunus to 
Beelzebub ; every animal head, from the buffalo to the eagle, 
from the shark to the bulldog. Conceive all the grotesques 
of the Pont-Neuf, those nightmares turned to stone under 
the hand of Germain Pilon, inspired with the breath of life, 
and rising up one by one to stare you in the face with gleam- 



ing eyes ; all the masks of the Carnival of Venice passing in 
procession before you — in a word, a human kaleidoscope. 

The orgy became more and more Flemish. Tenniers 
himself could have given but a feeble idea of it ; a Salvator 
Rosa battle-piece treated as a bacchic feast would be nearer 
the mark. There were no longer scholars, ambassadors, 
burghers, men or women ; neither Clopin Trouillefou nor 
Gilles Lecornu nor Marie Quatrelivres nor Robin Pousse- 
pain. The individual was swallowed up in the universal 
license. The great Hall was simply one vast furnace of 
effrontery and unbridled mirth, in which every mouth was a 
yell, every countenance a grimace, every individual a posture. 
The whole mass shrieked and bellowed. Every new visage 
that came grinning and gnashing to the window was fresh 
fuel to the furnace. And from this seething multitude, like 
steam from a caldron, there rose a hum — shrill, piercing, 
sibilant, as from a vast swarm of gnats. 

"Oh! oh! malediction!" 

" Oh, look at that face ! " 

" That's no good." 

" Show us another." 

" Guillemette Maugrepuis, look at that ox-muzzle. It 
only wants horns. It can't be thy husband." 

" The next ! " 

" Ventre du pape! What sort of a face do you call 

" Hola there — that's cheating I no more than the face is 
to be shown ! " 

" Is that Perette Callebotte ? — devil take her — it's just 
what she would do ! " 

" Noel ! Noel ! " 

" I shall choke ! " 

" Here's one Avhose ears won't come through." 

And so on, and so on. 

To do our friend Jehan justice, however, he was still visible 
in the midst of the pandemonium, high up on his pillar like 
a ship's boy in the mizzen, gesticulating like a maniac, his 
mouth wide open and emitting sounds that nobody heard; 
not because they were drowned by the all-pervading clamour, 
terrific as it was, but because doubtless they had reached the 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

limit at which shrill sounds are audible — the twelve thousand 
vibrations of Sauvcur, or the eight thousand of Biot. 

As to Gringoire, the first moment of depression over, he 
had regained his self-possession, had stiffened his back against 

" Go on," said he for the third time to his players. " Go 
on, you speaking machines," and proceeded to pace with 
long strides in front of the marble table. At one moment 
he was seized with the desire to go and present himself at 
the round window, if only for the gratification of pulling a 
face at this thankless crowd. " But no," he said to himself, 
" that would be beneath our dignity — no vengeance. We will 
fight on to the end. The power of poetry over the people 
is great. I shall yet regain my hold. We shall see which, 
will win the day, belles-lettres or grimaces." 

Alas ! he was the sole spectator of his piece. 

No, I am wrong. The big, patient man, whom he had 
already consulted at a critical moment, still faced the stage. 
As to Gisquette and Lienarde, they had long since deserted him. 

Touched to the heart by the stanchness of this audience 
of one, Gringoire went up to him and accosted him, shaking 
him gently by the arm, for the good man was leaning against 
the balustrade dozing comfortably. 

" Sir," said Gringoire, " I thank you." 

" Sir," returned the big man with a yawn, " for what ? " 

" I see the cause of your annoyance," resumed the poet. 
" This infernal din prevents your listening in comfort. But 
never fear, your name shall go down to posterity. Your 
name, if I may ask ? " 

" Renault Chateau, Keeper of the Seal of the Chatelet of 
Paris, at your service." 

" Sir, you are the sole representative of the Muses," said 

" You are too good, sir," replied the Keeper of the Seal 
of Chatelet. 

" The one person who has paid suitable attention to the 
piece. What do you think of it?" 

" H'm, h'm," replied the big official drowsily. " Really 
quite entertaining." 

Gringoire had to be content with this faint praise, for the 



conversation was abruptly cut short by a thunder of applause 
mingled with shouts of acclamation. The. Fools had elected 
their Pope. ^-^..^-^ 

'^"Noel ! Noel ! Noel ! " roared the crowd from all sides. 

In truth, the grimace that beamed through the broken 
rose-window at this moment was nothing short of miraculous- 
After all the faces — pentagonal, hexagonal, and heteroclite — 
which had succeeded each other in the stone frame, without 
realizing the grotesque ideal set up by the inflamed popular 
imagination, nothing inferior to the supreme efifort now daz- 
zling the spectators would have sufficed to carry every vote. 
Master Coppenole himself applauded, and Clopin Trouillefou, 
who had competed — and Lord knows to what heights his 
ugliness could attain — had to own himself defeated. We will 
do likewise, nor attempt to convey to the reader a conception 
of that tetrahedral nose, that horse-shoe mouth, of that small 
left eye obscured by a red and bristling brow, while the right 
disappeared entirely under a monstrous wart, of those uneven 
teeth, with breaches here and there like the crenated walls of 
a fortress, of that horny lip over which one of the teeth pro- 
jected like an elephant's tusk, of that cloven chin, nor, above 
all, of the expression overlying the whole — an indefinable mix- 
ture of malice, bewilderment, and sadness. Picture such an 
ensemble to yourself if you can. 

There was not a single dissentient voice. They rushed 
to the Chapel and in triumph dragged forth the thrice lucky 
Pope of Fools. Then surprise and admiration reached the 
culminating point — he had but shown his natural countenance. 

Rather, let us say, his whole person was a grimace. An 
enormous head covered with red bristles ; between the shoul- 
ders a great hump balanced by one in front ; a system of 
thighs and legs so curiously misplaced that they only touched 
at the knees, and, viewed from the front, appeared like two 
sickles joined at the handles ; huge splay feet, monstrous 
hands, and, with all this deformity, a nameless impression of 
formidable strength, agility, and courage — strange exception 
to the eternal rule, which decrees that strength, like beauty, 
shall be the outcome of harmony. ^ 

Such was he whom the Fools had chosen for their Pope. 
He looked like a giant broken and badly repaired. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

The moment this species of Cyclops appeared in the door- 
way of the Chapel, standing motionless, squat, almost as broad 
as he was long, squared by the base, as a great man has 
described it, he was instantly recognised by his party-coloured 
coat, half red, half violet, sprinkled with little silver bells, and 
above all, by the perfection of his ugliness. 
^^\(' " 'Tis Quasimodo the bell-ringer!" shouted the people 
^^^ with one voice ; " Quasimodo the Hunchback of Notre-Dame ! 
'' ^ Ouasimodo the one-eved ! Ouasimodo the bandy-legged ! 
Noel ! Noel ! " 

The poor devil had evidently a large stock of nicknames 
to choose from. 

" Let all pregnant women beware ! " cried the scholars. 

" Or those that wish to be ! " added Joannes. 

And in effect the women hastily covered their faces. 

" Oh, the hideous ape ! " exclaimed one. 

" And as wicked as he is ugly," returned another. 

" 'Tis the devil himself," added a third. 

" I am unlucky enough to live near Notre-Dame. I hear 
him scrambling about the leads all night." 

" With the cats." 

" He's forever on our roofs." 

" He casts spells at us down our chimneys." 

" The other night he came and made faces at me through 
my sky-light window. I thought it was a man. What a 
fright I got ! " 

" I am certain he goes to the witches' Sabbath. He once 
left a broom on my leads." 

" Oh, his horrid hunchback's face ! " 

" Oh, the wicked creature ! " 

" Fie upon him ! " 

On the other hand, the men were enchanted and applauded 

Meanwhile Quasimodo, the object of all this uproar, stood 
grave and unmoved in the doorway of the Chapel, and suf- 
fered himself to be admired. One of the scholars, Robin 
Poussepain I think it was, came up and laughed in his face 
— somewhat too close. Without a word Quasimodo seized 
him by the belt and tossed him into the crowd full ten 
paces off. 



" God's cross ! Holy Father ! " exclaimed Master Cop- 
penole in amazement. " Yours is the rarest ugliness I have 
ever beheld in all my born days. You deserve to be Pope 
of Rome, as well as of Paris." And so saying, he clapped a 
jovial hand on the hunchback's shoulder. 

Quasimodo did not stir. " Now here's a fellow," con- 
tinued Coppenole, " I have a mind to dine with, even if it 
cost me a new douzain of twelve livres tournois. What 
say you ? " 

Quasimodo made no reply. 

" Croix-Dieu ! " cried the hosier, "art deaf?" 

As a matter of fact he was deaf. 

However, he began to be annoyed by Coppenole's man- 
ner, and suddenly turned upon him with such a snarl that 
the Flemish giant recoiled like a bulldog before a cat. 

The result of this was that a circle of terror and respect, 
with a radius of at least fifteen geometric paces, was formed 
around the alarming personage. 

An old woman explained to Master Coppenole that Quasi- 
modo was deaf. 

"Deaf?" cried the hosier with his great Flemish guffaw; 
" Croix-Dieu ! then he's every inch a Pope ! " 

" Why, I know him ! " exclaimed Jehan, who by this time 
had clambered down from his pillar to examine the hunchback 
more closely. " It's my brother the Archdeacon's bell-ringer. 
Good-day, Quasimodo." 

" The man's a devil," growled Robin Poussepain, still 
giddy from his fall. " He shows himself, and you discover 
he is a hunchback ; he walks, and he is bow-legged ; he looks 
at you, and he has only one eye ; you speak to him, and 
he is deaf. Why, what does this Polyphemus do with his 
tongue ? " 

" He can speak when he likes," said the old woman. " He 
is deaf from the bell-ringing; he is not dumb." 

" That's all that's wanting to make him perfect," remarked 

" And he has an eye too many." 

"Not at all," said Jehan judicially; "a one-eyed man is 
more incomplete than a blind one, for he is conscious of 
what he lacks." 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

Meanwhile all the beggars, all the lackeys, all the cut- 
purses, had tacked themselves on to the scholars, and gone 
in procession to the wardrobe of the Basoche to fetch the 
pasteboard tiara and the mock robe reserved for the Fool's 
Pope, with which Quasimodo permitted himself to be invested 
ivitJIfout turning a hair, and with a sort of proud docility. 
They then seated him on a chair, twelve officers of the Fra- 
ternity of Fools lifted him on their shoulders, and a gleam 
of bitter and disdainful satisfaction lit up the morose face of 
the Cyclops as he saw the heads of all these fine, strong, 
straight-limbed men beneath his misshapen feet. 

Then the whole bellowing, tattered crew set itself in 
motion to make the customan- round of the interior galleries 
of the Palais, before marching through the streets and by-ways 
of the city. 



We are charmed to be able to inform our readers that 
during this whole scene Gringoire and his piece held their 
own. Spurred on by him, the actors had not ceased to 
declaim, nor he to listen. He had contributed his share to 
the clamour and was determined to stand fast to the end ; 
nor did he despair of finally regaining the attention of the 
public. This spark of hope revived when he beheld Quasi- 
modo, Coppenole, and the yelling cortege of the Pope of 
Fools troop out of the Hall with deafening uproar, the crowd 
eagerly at their heels. 

" Good," said he, " there goes the disturbing element." 

But unfortunately the disturbing elemicnt comprised the 
entire public. In a twinkling the Hall was empty. 

To be exact, a sprinkling of spectators still remained, 
scattered about singly or grouped round the pillars — women, 
old men, and children who had had enough of the noise and 
the tumult. A few scholars sat astride the windows looking 
down into the Place. 



" Well," thought Gringoire, " here we have at least enough 
to listen to the end of my Mystery. They are few, but select 
— a lettered audience." 

A moment afterward it was discovered that a band of 
music, which should have been immensely effective at the 
entry of the Blessed Virgin, was missing. Gringoire found 
that his musicians had been pressed into the service of the 
Pope of Fools. " Go on without it," he said stoically. 

Approaching a group of townsfolk who appeared to be 
discussing his play, he caught the following scraps of con- 
versation : 

" Maitre Cheneteau, you know the Hotel de Navarre, 
which used to belong to M. de Nemours?" 

" Opposite the Chapelle de Braque — yes." 

" Well, the fiscal authorities have just let it to Guillaumc 
Alisandre, the historical painter, for six livres eight sols 
parisis a year." 

" How rents are rising ! " 

" Come," thought Gringoire with a sigh, " at least the 
others are listening-." 

" Comrades ! " suddenly cried one of the young rascals at 
the window, " Esmeralda — Esmeralda down in the Place 1 " 

The name acted like a charm. Every soul in the Hall 
rushed to the window, clambering up the walls to see, and 
repeating " Esmeralda ! Esmeralda ! " while from the outside 
came a great burst of applause. 

" Now what do they mean with their ' Esmeralda ' ? " 
Gringoire inquired, clasping his hands in despair. " Ah, mon 
Dieu! it appears that the windows are the attraction now." 

He turned towards the marble table and discovered that 
the play had suffered an interruption. It was the moment at 
which Jupiter was to appear on the scene with his thunder. 
But Jupiter was standing stock-still below the stage. 

" Michel Giborne, what are you doing there ? " cried the 
exasperated poet. "Is that playing your part? Get up on 
the stage at once." 

" Alas ! " said Jupiter, " one of the scholars has just taken 
away the ladder." 

Gringoire looked. It was but too true; the connection 
between the knot of his play and the untying had been cut. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

" Rascal," he muttered, " what did he want with the 

'* To help him to see Esmeralda," answered Jupiter, in an 
injured tone. " He said, ' Hallo, here's a ladder that no- 
body's using,' and away he went with it." 

This was the last straw. Gringoire accepted it with res- 

" May the devil fly away with you ! " said he to the actors, 
" and if I am paid you shall be." Whereupon he beat a 
retreat, hanging his head, but the last in the field, like a 
general who has made a good fight. 

" A precious set of boobies and asses, these Parisians ! " 
he growled between his teeth, as he descended the tortuous 
stairs of the Palais. " They come to hear a Mystery, and 
don't listen to a word. They've been taken up with all the 
world — with Clopin Trouillefou, with the Cardinal, with Cop- 
penole, with Quasimodo, with the devil ; but with Madame 
the Virgin Mary not a bit. Dolts ! if I had only known ! I'd 
have given you some Virgin Marys with a vengeance. To 
think that I should have come here to see faces and found 
nothing but backs! I, a poet, to have the success of an 
apothecary ! True, Homerus had to beg his bread through 
the Greek villages, and Ovidius Naso died in exile among 
the Muscovites. But the devil flay me if I know what they 
mean with their Esmeralda. To begin with, where can the 
word come from? — ah, it's Egyptian." 




Night falls early in January. It was already dark in the 
streets when Gringoire quitted the Palais, which quite suited 
his taste, for he was impatient to reach some obscure and 
deserted alley where he might meditate in peace, and where 
the philosopher might apply the first salve to the wounds 
of the poet. Philosophy was his last refuge, seeing that he 
did not know where to turn for a night's lodging. After the 
signal miscarriage of his first effort, he had not the courage 
to return to his lodging in the Rue Grenier-sur-l'Eau, opposite 
the hay-wharf, having counted on receiving from Monsieur 
the Provost for his epithalamium the wherewithal to pay 
Maitre Guillaume Doulx-Sire, farmer of the cattle taxes in 
Paris, the six months' rent he owed him ; that is to say, twelve 
sols parisis, or twelve times the value of all he possessed in 
the world, including his breeches, his shirt, and his beaver. 

Resting for a moment under the shelter of the little gate- 
way of the prison belonging to the treasurer of the Sainte- 
Chapelle, he considered what lodging he should choose for 
the night, having all the pavements of Paris at his disposal. 
Suddenly he remembered having noticed in the preceding 
week, at the door of one of the parliamentary counsellors in 
the Rue de la Savaterie, a stone step, used for mounting on 
mule-back, and having remarked to himself that that stone 
might serve excellently well as a pillow to a beggar or a 
poet. He thanked Providence for having sent him this happy 
thought, and was just preparing to cross the Place du Palais 
and enter the tortuous labyrinth of the city, where those 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

ancient sisters, the streets of la Baillerie, la Vielle-Draperie, 
la Savaterie, la Juiverie, etc., pursue their mazy windings, and 
are still standing to this day with their nine-storied houses, 
when he caught sight of the procession of the Pope of Fools, 
as it issued from the Palais and poured across his path with 
a great uproar, accompanied by shouts and glare of torches 
and Gringoire's own band of music. 

The sight touched his smarting vanity, and he fled. In 
the bitterness of his dramatic failure everything that reminded 
him of the unlucky festival exasperated him and made his 
wounds bleed afresh. 

He would have crossed the Pont Saint-Michel, but chil- 
dren were running up and down with squibs and rockets. 

" A murrain on the lire-works ! " exclaimed Gringoire, 
turning back to the Pont-au-Change. In front of the houses 
at the entrance to the bridge they had attached three banners 
of cloth, representing the King, the Dauphin, and Marguerite 
of Flanders, and also six smaller banners or draplets on 
which were " pourtraicts " of the Duke of Austria, the Cardinal 
de Bourbon, M. de Beaujeu, Mme. Jeanne de France, and 
Monsieur the Bastard of Bourbon, and some one else, the 
whole lighted up by flaming cressets. The crowd was lost 
in admiration. 

" Lucky painter, Jehan Fourbault,"' said Gringoire with a 
heavy sigh, and turned his back upon the banners and the 
bannerets. A street opened before him so dark and deserted 
that it offered him every prospect of escape from all the sounds 
and the illuminations of the festival. He plunged into it. 
A few moments afterward his foot struck against an obstacle, 
he tripped and fell. It was the great bunch of may which 
the clerks of the Basoche had laid that morning at the door 
of one of the presidents of the parliament, in honour of 
the day. 

Gringoire bore this fresh mishap with heroism ; he picked 
himself up and made for the water-side. Leaving behind 
him the Tournelle Civile and the Tour Criminelle, and skirt- 
ing the high walls of the royal gardens, ankle-deep in mud, 
he reached the western end of the city, and stopped for some 
time in contemplation of the islet of the Passcur-aux-raches 
or ferry-man of the cattle, since buried under the bronze horse 


From Scylla to Charybdis 

of the Pont-Neuf. In the gloom the islet looked to him like 
a black blot across the narrow, gray-white stream that sep- 
arated him from it. One could just make out by a faint 
glimmer of light proceeding from it, the hive-shaped hut in 
which the ferry-man sheltered for the night. 

" Happy ferry-man," thought Gringoire, " thou aspirest not 
to fame ; thou composest no epithalamiums. What carest 
thou for royal marriages or for Duchesses of Burgundy? 
Thou reckest of no Marguerites but those with which April 
pies the meadows for thy cows to crop, . And I, a poet, am 
hooted at, and I am shivering, and I owe twelve sous, and 
my shoe-soles are worn so thin they would do to glaze thy 
lantern. I thank thee, ferry-man ; thy cabin is soothing to 
my sight, and makes me forget Paris." 

Here he was startled out of his well-nigh lyric ecstasy 
by the explosion of a great double rocket which suddenly 
went up from the thrice happy cabin. It was the ferry-man 
adding his contribution to the festivities of the day by letting 
off some lire-works. 

At this Gringoire fairly bristled with rage. 

" Accursed festival ! " cried he ; " is there no escape from 
it ? — not even on the cattle ferry-man's islet ? " 

He gazed on the Seine at his feet, and a horrible tempta- 
tion assailed him. 

" Oh, how gladly would I drown myself," said he, " if 
only the water were not so cold ! " 

It was then he formed the desperate resolve that, as there 
was no escape from the Pope of Fools, from Jehan Four- 
bault's painted banners, from the bunches of may, from the 
squibs and rockets, he would boldly cast himself into the very 
heart of the merry-making and go to the Place de Greve. 

-'^There at least," he reflected, " I may manage to get a 
brand from the bonfire whereat to warm myself, and to sup 
off some remnant of the three great armorial devices in sugar 
which have been set out on the public buffets of the city." 


Notre-Dame de Paris 


There remains but one slight vestige of the Place de 
Greve as it was in those days ; namely, the charming little 
turret at the northern angle of the square, and that, buried 
as it is already under the unsightly coating of whitewash 
which obliterates the spirited outlines of its carvings, will 
doubtless soon have disappeared altogether, submerged under 
that flood of raw, new^ buildings which is rapidly swallowing 
up all the old fagades of Paris. 

Those who, like ourselves, never cross the Place de Greve 
without a glance of pity and sympathy for the poor little 
turret squeezed between two squalid houses of the time of 
Louis XV, can easily conjure up in fancy the ensemble of 
edifices of which it formed a part, and so regain a complete 
picture of the old Gothic square of the fifteenth century. 

Then, as now, it was an irregular square bounded on one 
side by the quay, and at the others by rows of tall, narrow, 
and gloomy houses. By daylight, there was much to admire 
in the diversity of these edifices, all sculptured in wood or 
stone, and offering, even then, perfect examples of the various 
styles of architecture in the Middle Ages, ranging from the fif- 
teenth back to the eleventh century, from the perpendicular, 
which was beginning to oust the Gothic, to the Roman which 
the Gothic had supplanted, and which still occupied beneath 
it the first story of the ancient Tour de Roland, at the corner 
of the square adjoining the Seine on the side of the Rue de 
la Tannerie. At night, nothing was distinguishable of this 
mass of buildings but the black and jagged outline of the 
roofs encircling the Place with their chain of sharp-pointed 
gables. For herein consists one of the radical diflferences 
between the cities of that day and the present, that whereas 
now the fronts of the houses look on the squares and streets, 
then it was their backs. During the last two centuries the 
houses have completely turned about. 

In the centre of the eastern side of the square rose a 
clumsy and hybrid pile formed of three separate buildings 


The Place de Gr^ve 

joined together. It was known by three names, which ex- 
plain its history, its purpose, and its style of architecture : 
the Maison au Dauphin, because Charles V had inhabited it as 
Dauphin ; the Marchandise, because it was used as the Town 
Hall ; the Maison-aiLr-Piliers (domns ad pilorum), because of 
the row of great pillars that supported its three storeys. Here 
the city found all that was necessary to a good city like Paris : 
a chapel for its prayers, a plaidoyer or court-room wherein to 
hear causes and, at need, to give a sharp set-down to the 
King's men-at-arms, and in the garrets an arsenal stocked 
with ammunition. For the good citizens of Paris knew full 
well that it is not sufificient at all junctures to depend either 
on prayer or the law for maintaining the franchises of the 
city, and have always some good old rusty blunderbuss or 
other in reserve in the attic of the Hotel de Ville. 

La Greve already had that sinister aspect which it still 
retains owing to the execrable associations it calls up, and 
the frowning Hotel de Ville of Dominique Bocador which 
has replaced the Maison-aux-Piliers. It must be admitted 
that a gibbet and a pillory — a justice and a ladder, as they 
were then called — set up side by side in the middle of the 
Place, went far to make the passer-by turn in aversion from 
this fatal spot, where so many human beings throbbing with 
life and health have been done to death, and which fifty years 
later was to engender the Saint- Vallier fever, that morbid 
terror of the scaffold, the most monstrous of all maladies, 
because it comes not from the hand of God but of man. 

It is a consoling thought, let it be said in passing, to 
remember that the death penalty, which three centuries ago 
encumbered with its spiked wheels, its stone gibbets, all its 
dread apparatus of death permanently fixed into the ground, 
the Place de Greve, the Halles, the Place Dauphine, the Cours 
du Trahoir, the Marche-aux-Pourceaux or pig-market, awful 
Montfaucon, the Barriere-des-Sergents, the Place-au-Chats, 
the Porte Saint-Denis, Champeaux, the Porte Baudets, the 
Porte Saint-Jacques, not to mention the pillories under the 
jurisdiction of the Bishop, of the Chapters, of the Abbots, of 
the Priors ; nor the judicial drownings in the Seine — it is con- 
soling, we repeat, to reflect that after losing, one by one, all the 
pieces of its dread panoply : its multiplicity of executions, its 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

fantastically cruel sentences, its rack at the Grand Chatelet — 
the leather stretcher of which had to be renewed every five 
years — that ancient suzerain of feudal society is to-day well- 
nigh banished from our laws and our cities, tracked from code 
fo code, hunted from place to place, till in all great Paris it 
has but one dishonoured corner it can call its own— in the 
Place de Greve ; but one wretched guillotine, furtive, craven, 
shameful, that always seems to fear being caught red-handed, 
so quickly does it vanish after dealing its fatal blow. 



By the time Pierre Gringoire reached the Place de Greve 
he was chilled to the bone. He had made his way across the 
Pont-aux-Meuniers — the Millers' bridge — to avoid the crowd 
on the Pont-au-Change and the sight of Jehan Fourbault's 
banners ; but the wheel of the episcopal mills had splashed 
him as he passed, and his coat was wet through. In addition, 
it seemed to him that the failure of his play made him feel 
the cold more keenly. He hastened, therefore, to get near 
the splendid bonfire burning in the middle of the Place, but 
found it surrounded by a considerable crowd. 

" Perdition take these Parisians ! " said he to himself — for 
as a true dramatic poet, Gringoire was greatly addicted to 
monologue — " now they prevent me getting near the fire — 
and Heaven knows I have need of a warm corner! My 
shoes are veritable sponges, and those cursed mill-wheels have 
been raining upon me. Devil take the Bishop of Paris and 
his mills ! I'd like to know what a bishop wants with a mill. 
Does he expect he may some day have to turn miller instead 
of bishop? If he is only waiting for my curse to effect this 
transformation, he is welcome to it, and may it include his 
cathedral and his mills as well. Now, let us see if these 

* A kiss brings pain. 


Besos Para Golpes 

varlets will make room for me. What are they doing there, 
["d like to know. Warming themselves — a fine pleasure 
indeed! Watching a pile of fagots burn — a grand spectacle, 
i' faith ! " 

On looking closer, however, he perceived that the circle 
was much wider than necessary for merely warming one's self 
at the King's bonfire, and that such a crowd of spectators 
was not attracted solely by the beauty of a hundred blazing 
fagots. In the immense space left free between the crowd 
and the fire a girl was dancing, but whether she was a human 
being, a sprite, or an angel, was what Gringoire — sceptical 
philosopher, ironical poet though he might be — was unable 
for the moment to determine, so dazzled was he by the 
fascinating vision. 

She was not tall, but her slender and elastic figure made 
her appear so. Her skin was brown, but one guessed that 
by day it would have the warm golden tint of the Andalusian 
and Roman women. Her small foot too, so perfectly at ease 
in its narrow, graceful shoe, was quite Andalusian. She was 
dancing, pirouetting, whirling on an old Persian carpet spread 
carelessly on the ground, and each time her radiant face 
passed before you, you caught the flash of her great dark 

The crowd stood round her open-mouthed, every eye fixed 
upon her, and in truth, as she danced thus to the drumming 
of a tambourine held high above her head by her round and 
delicate arms, slender, fragile, airy as a wasp, with her gold- 
laced bodice closely moulded to her form, her bare shoulders, 
her gaily striped skirt swelling out round her, affording 
glimpses of her exquisitely shaped limbs, the dusky masses 
of her hair, her gleaming eyes, she seemed a creature of 
some other world. 

" In very truth," thought Gringoire, " it is a salamander 
— a nymph — 'tis a goddess — a bacchante of Mount Mse- 
nalus ! " 

At this moment a tress of the " salamander's " hair be- 
came uncoiled, and a piece of brass attached to it fell to the 

" Why, no," said he, " 'tis a gipsy ! " and all illusion 



Notre-Dame de Paris 

She resumed her performance. Taking up two swords 
from the ground, she leaned the points against her forehead, 
and twisted them in one direction while she herself turned 
in another. 

True, she was simply a gipsy ; but however disenchanted 
Gringoire might feel, the scene was not without its charm, 
nor a certain weird magic under the glaring red light of the 
bonfire, which flared over the ring of faces and the figure of 
the dancing girl and cast a pale glimmer among the wavering 
shadows at the far end of the Place, flickering over the black 
and corrugated front of the old Maison-aux-Piliers, or the 
stone arms of the gibbet opposite. 

Among the many faces dyed crimson by this glow was 
one which, more than all the others, seemed absorbed in 
contemplation of the dancer. It was the face of a man, 
austere, calm, and sombre. His costume was hidden by the 
crowd pressing round him ; but though he did not appear 
to be more than thirty-five, he was bald, showing only a few 
sparse locks at the temples and they already gray. The broad, 
high forehead was furrowed, but in the deep-set eyes there 
glowed an extraordinary youthfulness, a fervid vitality, a con- 
suming passion. Those eyes never moved from the gipsy, 
and the longer the girl danced and bounded in all the unre- 
strained grace of her sixteen years, delighting the populace, J 
the gloomier did his thoughts seem to become. Ever and * 
anon a smile and a sigh would meet upon his lips, but the 
smile was the more grievous of the two. 

At last, out of breath with her exertion, the girl stopped, 
and the people applauded with all their heart. 

" Djali ! " cried the gipsy. 

At this there appeared a pretty little white goat, lively, 
intelligent, and glossy, with gilded horns and hoofs and a 
gilt collar, which Gringoire had not observed before, as it 
had been lying on a corner of the carpet, watching its mis- 
tress dance. 

" Djali,." said the dancing girl, " it is your turn now," and 
seating herself, she gracefully held out her tambourine to 
the goat. 

" Now, Djali," she continued, " which month of the year 
is it?" 


Besos Para Golpes 

The goat lifted its fore-foot and tapped once on the tam- 
bourine. It was in fact the first month. The crowd ap- 

" Djali," resumed the girl, reversing the tambourine, 
*' what day of the month is it ? " 

Djali lifted her little golden hoof and gave six strokes on 
the tambourine. 

" Djali," continued the gipsy girl, again changing the 
position of the tambourine, " what hour of the day is it ? " 

Djali gave seven strokes. At the same instant the clock 
of the Maison-aux-Piliers struck seven. 

The people were lost in admiration and astonishment. 

*' There is witchcraft in this," said a sinister voice in the 
crowd. It came from the bald man, who had never taken 
his eyes ofif the gipsy. 

The girl shuddered and turned round, but the applause 
burst out afresh and drowned the morose exclamation — 
effaced it, indeed, so completely from her mind that she con- 
tinued to interrogate her goat. 

" Djali, show us how Maitre Guichard Grand-Remy, cap- 
tain of the town sharp-shooters, walks in the procession at 

Djali stood up on her hind legs and began to bleat, while 
she strutted along with such a delightful air of gravity that 
the whole circle of spectators, irresistibly carried away by this 
parody on the devotional manner of the captain of the sharp- 
shooters, burst into a roar of laughter. 

" Djali," resumed the girl, emboldened by her increasing 
success, " show us Maitre Jacques Charmolue, the King's 
Procurator in the Ecclesiastical Court, when he preaches." 

The goat sat up on its hind quarters and proceeded to 
bleat and wave its fore-feet in so comical a fashion that — 
excepting the bad French and worse Latin — it was Jacques 
Charmolue, gesture, accent, attitude, to the life. 

The crowd applauded ecstatically. 

" Sacrilege ! profanation ! " exclaimed the voice of the bald 
man once more. 

The gipsy girl turned round again. " Ah," said she, " it 
is that hateful man ! " then, with a disdainful pout of her 
under lip, which seemed a familiar little grimace with her, 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

she turned lightly on her heels and began collecting the con- 
tributions of the bystanders in her tambourine. 

Grands blancs, petits blancs, targes, liards a I'aigle, every 
description of small coin, were now showered upon her. Sud- 
denly, just as she was passing Gringoire, he, in sheer absence 
of mind, thrust his hand into his pocket, so that the girl 
stopped in front of him. 

" Diablc! " exclaimed the poet, finding at the bottom of 
his pocket reality — in other words, nothing. And yet, here 
w-as this pretty girl, her great eyes fixed on him, holding 
out her tambourine expectantly. Gringoire broke out in a 
cold perspiration. If he had had all Peru in his pocket, he 
would most certainly have handed it to the dancing girl, but 
Gringoire did not possess Peru — and in any case America 
had not yet been discovered. 

Fortunately an unexpected occurrence came to his relief. 

" Get thee gone from here, locust of Egypt ! " cried a 
harsh voice from the darkest corner of the Place. 

The girl turned in alarm. This was not the voice of the 
bald man ; it was the voice of a woman, one full of fanaticism 
and malice. However, the exclamation which startled the 
gipsy girl highly delighted a noisy band of children prowling 
about the Place. 

" 'Tis the recluse of the Tour-Roland ! " they cried with 
discordant shouts of laughter ; " 'tis the sachctte * scolding 
again. Has she not had any supper? Let's take her some- 
thing from the public buffet ! " and they rushed in a mass 
towards the Maison-aux-Piliers. 

Meanwhile Gringoire had taken advantage of the dancing 
girl's perturbation to eclipse himself, and the children's mock- 
ing shouts reminded him that he too had had no supper. 
He hastened to the buffet, but the little rascals had been too 
quick for him, and by the time he arrived they had swept 
the board. There was not even a miserable piece of honey- 
bread at five sous the pound. Nothing was left against the 
wall but the slender fleur de lis and roses painted there in 
1434 by Mathieu Biterne — in sooth, a poor kind of supper. 

It is not exactly gay to have to go to bed supperless, 
but it is still less entertaining neither to have supped nor 

* Nun of the Order of the Sack, or of the Penitence of Christ. 


Besos Para Golpes 

to know where you are going to get a bed. Yet this was 
Gringoire's plight — without a prospect of food or lodging. 
He found himself pressed on all sides by necessity, and he 
considered necessity extremely hard on him. He had long 
ago discovered this truth — that Jupiter created man during 
a fit of misanthropy, and throughout life the destiny of the 
wise man holds his philosophy in a state of siege. For his 
own part, Gringoire had never seen the blockade so complete. 
He heard his stomach sound a parley, and he thought it too 
bad that his evil fate should be enabled to take his philosophy 
by famine. 

He was sinking deeper and deeper into this melancholy 
mood, when his attention was suddenly aroused by the sound 
of singing, most sweet but full of strange and fantastic modula- 
tions. It was the gipsy girl. 

Her voice, like her dancing and her beauty, had some 
indefinable and charming quality — something pure and sono- 
rous ; something, so to speak, soaring, winged. Her singing 
was a ceaseless flow of melody, of unexpected cadences, of 
simple phrases dotted over with shrill and staccato notes, of 
liquid runs that would have taxed a nightingale, but in which 
the harmony was never lost, of soft octave undulations that 
rose and fell like the bosom of the fair singer. And all the 
while her beautiful face expressed with singular mobility all 
the var}ang emotions of her song, from the wildest inspiration 
to the most virginal dignity — one moment a maniac, the 
next a queen. 

The words she sang were in a tongue unknown to Grin- 
goire and apparently to herself, so little did the expression 
she put into her song fit the sense of the words. Thus, on 
her lips these four lines were full of sparkling gaiety : 

" Un cofre de gran riqueza 
Halloran dentro un pilar ; 
Dentro del, nuevas banderas 
Con figuras de espantar." * 

* A chest richly decorated 
They found in a well, 
And in it new banners 
With figures most terrifying. 

E 63 Vol. 4 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

And the next moment Gringoire's eyes filled with tears 
at the expression she put into this verse : 

" Alarabes de cavallo 
Sin poderse menear, 
Con espadas, y a los cuellos 
Ballestas de buen echar." * 

However, the prevailing note in her singing was joyous- 
ness, and, like the birds, she seemed to sing from pure serenity 
and lightness of heart. 

The gipsy's song disturbed Gringoire's reverie, but only 
as a swan rufHes the water. He listened in a sort of trance, 
unconscious of all around him. It was the first momen^for 
many hours that he forgot his woes. 

The respite was short. The female voice which had inter- 
rupted the gipsy's dance now broke in upon her song: 

" Silence, grasshopper of hell ! " she cried out of the same 
dark corner of the Place. 

The poor " cigale " stopped short. Gringoire clapped his 
hands to his ears. 

" Oh ! " he cried, " accursed, broken-toothed saw that 
comes to break the lyre ! " 

The rest of the audience agreed with him. " The foul 
fiend take the old sacheitel " growled more than one of them, 
and the invisible spoil-sport might have had reason to repent 
of her attacks on the gipsy, if the attention of the crowd had 
not been distracted by the procession of the Pope of Fools, 
now pouring into the Place de Greve, after making the tour 
of the streets with its blaze of torches and its deafening 

This procession which our readers saw issuing from the 
Palais de Jnstice had organized itself en route, and had been 
recruited by all the ruffians, all the idle pickpockets and 
unemployed vagabonds of Paris, so that by this time it had 
reached most respectable proportions. 

First came Egypt, the Duke of the Gipsies at the head, 

* Arab horsemen they are, 
Looking like statues, 
With swords, and over their shoulders 
Cross-bows that shoot well. 


Besos Para Golpes 

on horseback, with his counts on foot holding his bridle and 
stirrups and followed by the whole gipsy tribe, men and 
women, pell-mell, their children screeching on their shoulders, 
and all of them, duke, counts, and rabble, in rags and tinsel. 
Then came the Kingdom of Argot, otherwise all the vaga- 
bonds in France, marshalled in order of their various ranks, 
the lowest being first. Thus they marched, four abreast, 
bearing the divers insignia of their degrees in that strange 
faculty, most of them maimed in one way or another, some 
halt, some minus a hand — the courtauds de boutanche (shop- 
lifters), the coquillarts (pilgrims), the hubins (house-breakers), 
the sabouleux (sham epileptics), the calots (dotards), the 
francs-mitoux (" schnorrers "), the polissons (street rowdies), 
the pietres (sham cripples), the capons (card-sharpers), the 
malingreux (infirm), the marcandiers (hawkers), the narquois 
(thimble-riggers), the orphelines (pickpockets), the archisup- 
pots (arch-thieves), and the cagoux (master-thieves) — a list 
long enough to have wearied Homer himself. It was not 
without difficulty that in the middle of a conclave of ca- 
goux and archisuppots one discovered the King of Argot, the 
Grand Coesre, huddled up in a little cart drawn by two great 
dogs. The Kingdom of Argot was followed by the Empire 
of Galilee, led by Guillaume Rousseau, Emperor of Gali- 
lee, walking majestically in a purple, wine-stained robe, 
preceded by mummers performing sham-fights and war- 
dances, and surrounded by his mace-bearers, his satellites, 
and his clerks of the exchequer. Last of all came the mem- 
bers of the Basoche with their garlanded may-poles, their black 
robes, their music worthy of a witches' Sabbath, and their 
great yellow wax candles. In the centre of this crowd the 
great officers of the Confraternity of Fools bore on their 
shoulders a sort of litter more loaded with candles than the 
shrine of Sainte-Genevieve at the time of the plague. And on 
it, resplendent in cope, crosier, and mitre, sat enthroned the 
new Pope of the Fools, Quasimodo, the hunchback, the bell- 
ringer of Notre-Dame. 

Each section of this grotesque procession had its special 
music. The gipsies scraped their balafos * and banged their 

* A primitive stringed instrument of negro origin. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

tambourines. The Argotiers — not a very musical race — had 
got no further than the viol, the cow-horn, and the Gothic 
rebec of the twelfth century. The Empire of Galilee w-as 
not much better — scarcely that you distinguished in its music 
the squeak of some primitive fiddle dating from the infan- 
cy of the art, and still confined to the rc-la-mi. But it 
was round the Fools' Pope that all the musical treasures 
of the age were gathered in one glorious discordance- 
treble rebecs, tenor rebecs, not to mention flutes and brass- 
es. Alas, our readers will remember that this was Gringoire's 

It would be diflEicult to convey an idea of the degree of 
beatitude and proud satisfaction which had gradually spread 
over the sad and hideous countenance of Quasimodo during 
his progress from the Palais to the Place de Greve. It was 
the first gleam of self-approbation he had ever experienced. 
Hitherto, humiliation, disdain, disgust alone had been his 
portion. Deaf as he was, he relished like any true Pope the 
acclamations of the multitude, whom he hated because he felt 
they hated him. What matter that his people were a rabble 
of Fools, of halt and maimed, of thieves, of beggars? They 
were a people and he was a sovereign. And he accepted 
seriously all this ironical applause, all this mock reverence, 
with which, however, we are bound to say, there was mingled 
a certain amount of perfectly genuine fear. For the hunch- 
back was very strong, and though bow-legged, was active, 
and though deaf, w^as resentful — three qualities which have a 
way of tempering ridicule. 

For the rest, it is highly improbable that the new Pope 
of Fools was conscious either of the sentiments he experienced 
or of those w'hich he inspired. The mind lodged in that mis- 
shapen body must inevitably be itself defective and dim, so 
that whatever he felt at that moment, he was aware of it 
but in a vague, uncertain, confused way. But joy pierced 
the gloom and pride predominated. Around that sombre and 
unhappy countenance there was a halo of light. 

It was therefore not without surprise and terror that sud- 
denly, just as Quasimodo in this semi-ecstatic state was pass- 
ing the Maison-aux-Piliers in his triumphant progress, they 
saw a man dart from the crowd, and with a gesture of hate, 


Besos Para Golpes 

snatch from his hand the crosier of gilt wood, the emblem 
of his mock papacy. 

This bold person was the same man who, a moment before, 
had scared the poor gipsy girl with his words of menace and 
hatred. He wore the habit of an ecclesiastic, and the moment 
he disengaged himself from the crowd, Gringoire, who had 
not observed him before, recognised him. " Tiens ! " said he 
with a cry of astonishment, " it is my master in Hermetics, 
Dom Claude Frollo the Archdeacon. What the devil can 
he want with that one-eyed brute? He will assuredly be 
devoured ! " 

Indeed, a cry of terror rose from the crowd, for the 
formidable hunchback had leapt from his seat, and the women 
turned their heads that they might not see the Archdeacon 
torn limb from limb. 

He made one bound towards the priest, looked in his face, 
and fell on his knees before him. 

The priest then snatched ofif his tiara, broke his crosier 
in two, and rent his cope of tinsel, Quasimodo remaining on 
his knees with bent head and clasped hands. 

On this there began a strange dialogue between the two 
of signs and gestures, for neither of them uttered a word : 
the priest standing angry, menacing, masterful ; Quasimodo 
prostrate before him, humbled and suppliant; and yet Quasi- 
modo could certainly have crushed the priest with his finger 
and thumb. 

At last, with a rough shake of the dwarf's powerful 
shoulder, the Archdeacon made him a sign to rise and fol- 
low him. 

Quasimodo rose to his feet. 

At this the Fraternity of Fools, the first stupor of surprise 
passed, prepared to defend their Pope thus rudely dethroned, 
while the Egyptians, the Argotiers, and the Basoche in a body 
closed yelping round the priest. 

But Quasimodo, placing himself in front of the Arch- 
deacon, brought the muscles of his brawny fists into play and 
faced the assailants with the snarl of an angry tiger. 

The priest, returned to his gloomy gravity, signed to 
Quasimodo and withdrew in silence, the hunchback walking 
before him and scattering the crowd in his passage. 


Nocre-Dame de Paris 

When they had made their way across the Place the 
curious and idle rabble made as if to follow, whereupon 
Quasimodo took up his position in the rear and followed the 
Archdeacon, facing the crowd, thick-set, snarling, hideous, 
shaggy, ready for a spring, gnashing his tusks, growling like 
a wild beast, and causing wild oscillations in the crowd by 
a mere gesture or a look. 

So they were allowed to turn unhindered into a dark 
and narrow street, where no one ventured to follow them, so 
effectually was the entrance barred by the mere image of 
Quasimodo and his gnashing fangs. 

" A most amazing incident ! " said Gringoire ; " but where 
the devil am I to find a supper?" 



At a venture, Gringoire set ofif to follow the gipsy girl. 
He had seen her and her goat turn into the Rue de la Cou- 
tellerie, so he too turned down the Rue de la Coutellerie. 

" Why not ? " said he to himself. 

Now, Gringoire, being a practical philosopher of the streets 
of Paris, had observed that nothing is more conducive to 
pleasant reverie than to follow a pretty woman without know- 
ing where she is going. There is in this voluntary abdication 
of one's free-will, in this subordination of one's whim to that* 
of another person who is totally unconscious of one's pro- 
ceedings, a mixture of fanciful independence and blind obedi- 
ence, an indefinable something between slavery and freedom 
which appealed to Gringoire, whose mind was essentially 
mixed, vacillating, and complex, touching in turn all ex- 
tremes, hanging continually suspended between all human 
propensities, and letting one neutralize the other. He was 
fond of comparing himself to Mahomet's coffin, attracted 
equally by two loadstones, and hesitating eternally between 


Gringoire Follows the Gipsy Girl 

heaven and earth, between the roof and the pavement, be- 
tween the fall and the ascension, between the zenith and 
the nadir. 

Had Gringfoire lived in our day, how admirably he would 
have preserved the golden mean between the classical and the 
romantic. But he was not primitive enough to live three 
hundred years, a fact much to be deplored ; his absence creates 
a void only too keenly felt in these days. 

For the rest, nothing disposes one more readily to follow 
passengers through the streets — especially female ones, as 
Gringoire had a weakness for doing — than not to know where 
to find a bed. 

He therefore walked all pensively after the girl, who 
quickened her pace, making her pretty little goat trot beside 
her, as she saw the townsfolk going home, and the taverns 
— the only shops that had been open that day — preparing 
to close, 

" After all," he thought, " she must lodge somewhere — • 
gipsy women are kind-hearted — who knows . . . ? " 

And he filled in the asterisks which followed this discreet 
break with I know not what engaging fancies. 

Meanwhile, from time to time, as he passed the last groups 
of burghers closing their doors, he caught scraps of their 
conversation which broke the charmed spell of his happy 

Now it was two old men accosting each other: 

" Maitre Thibaut Fernicle, do yow know that it is very 
cold ? " (Gringoire had known it ever since the winter set in.) 

" You are right there, Maitre Boniface Disome. Are we 
going to have another winter like three years ago, in '80, 
when wood cost eight sols a load ? " 

" Bah, Maitre Thibaut ! it is nothing to the winter of 1407 
— when there was frost from Martinmas to Candlemas, and 
so sharp that at every third word the ink froze in the pen 
of the registrar of the parliament, which interrupted the re- 
cording of the judgments " 

Farther on were two gossips at their windows with candles 
that spluttered in the foggy air, 

" Has your husband told you of the accident, Mile. La 
Boudraque ? " 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

"No; what is it, Mile. Turqnant?" 

" Why, the horse of M. Gilles Godin, notary at the Giate- 
let, was startled by the Flemings and their procession and 
knocked down Maitre Phillipot Avrillot, a Celestine lay- 

"Is that so?" 

" Yes, truly." 

" Just an ordinary horse too ! That's rather too bad. If 
it had been a cavalry horse, now ! " 

And the windows were shut again ; but not before Grin- 
goire had lost the thread of his ideas. 

Fortunately he soon picked it up again, and had no diffi- 
culty in resuming it, thanks to the gipsy and to Djali, who 
continued to walk before him — two graceful, delicate crea- 
tures, whose small feet, pretty forms, and engaging ways he 
admired exceedingly, almost confounding them in his con- 
templation : regarding them for their intelligence and good 
fellowship both as girls, while for their sure-footed, light and 
graceful gait, they might both have been goats. 

Meanwhile the streets were momentarily becoming darker 
and more deserted. Curfew had rung long ago, and it was 
only at rare intervals that one encountered a foot-passenger 
in the street or a light in a window. In following the gipsy, 
Gringoire had become involved in that inextricable maze of 
alleys, lanes, and culs-de-sac which surrounds the ancient 
burial-ground of the Holy Innocents, and which resembles 
nothing so much as a skein of cotton ravelled by a kitten. 

" Very illogical streets, i' faith ! " said Gringoire, quite lost 
in the thousand windings which seemed forever to return 
upon themselves, but through which the girl followed a path 
apparently quite familiar to her, and at an increasingly rapid 
pace. For his part, he would have been perfectly ignorant 
of his whereabouts, had he not caught sight at a turning of 
the octagonal mass of the pillory of the Halles, the perforated 
top of which was outlined sharply against a solitary lighted 
window in the Rue Verdelet. 

For some moments the girl had been aware of his pres- 
ence, turning round two orjhree times uneasily; once, even, 
she had stopped short, and taking advantage of a ray of light 
from a half-open bakehouse door, had scanned him steadily 


Gringoire Follows the Gipsy Girl 

from head to foot ; then, with the little pouting grimace which 
Gringoire had already noticed, she had proceeded on her way. 

That little m >ue gave Gringoire food for reflection. There 
certainly was somewhat of disdain and mockery in that cap- 
tivating grimace. In consequence he hung his head and 
began to count the paving-stones, and to follow the girl at 
a more respectful distance. Suddenly, at a street corner which 
for the moment had caused him to lose sight of her, he heard 
her utter a piercing shriek. He hastened forward. The 
street was very dark, but a twist of cotton steeped in oil 
that burned behind an iron grating at the feet of an image 
of the Virgin, enabled Gringoire to descry the gipsy strug-^ 
gling in the arms of two men who were endeavouring to 
stifle her cries. The poor, frightened little goat lowered its 
horns and bleated piteously. 

" Help ! help ! gentlemen of the watch ! " cried Gringoire, 
advancing bravely. One of the men holding the girl 
turned towards him — it was the formidable countenance of 

Gringoire did not take to his heels, but neither did he 
advance one step. 

Quasimodo came at him, dealt him a blow that hurled him 
four paces ofif on the pavement, and disappeared rapidly into 
the darkness, carrying ofif the girl hanging limply over one 
of his arms like a silken scarf. His companioii followed him, 
and the poor little goat ran after them bleating piteously. 

" Murder ! murder ! " screamed the hapless gipsy. 

" Hold, villains, and drop that wench ! " thundered a voice 
suddenly, and a horseman sprang out from a neighbouring 

It was a captain of the Royal Archers, armed cap-a-pie, 
and sabre in hand. 

He snatched the gipsy from the grasp of the stupefied 
Quasimodo and laid her across his saddle ; and as the redoubt- 
able hunchback, recovered from his surprise, was about to 
throw himself upon him and recover his prey, fifteen or 
sixteen archers who had followed close upon their captain 
appeared, broadsword in hand. It was a detachment going 
the night rounds by order of M. d'Estouteville, commandant 
of the Provostry of Paris. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

Quasimodo was instantly surrounded, seized, and bound. 
He roared, he foamed, he bit, and had it been daylight, no 
doubt his face alone, rendered still more hideous by rage, 
would have put the whole detachment to flight. But dark- 
less deprived him of his most formidable weapon — his 

His companion had vanished during the struggle. 

The gipsy girl sat up lightly on the officer's saddle, put 
her two hands on the young man's shoulders, and regarded 
him fixedly for several seconds, obviously charmed by his 
good looks and grateful for the service he had just ren- 
dered her. 

She was the first to break the silence. Infusing a still 
sweeter tone into her sweet voice, she said : " Monsieur the 
Gendarme, how are you called ? " 

" Captain Phoebus de Chateaupers, at your service, ma 

" Thank you," she replied ; and while Monsieur the Cap- 
tain was occupied in twirling his mustache d la Burgui- 
gnonne, she slid from the saddle like a falling arrow and was 
gone — no lightning could have vanished more rapidly. 

" Nombril du Pape ! " swore the captain while he made 
them tighten Quasimodo's bonds. " I would rather have 
kept the girl." 

" Well, captain," returned one of the men, " though the 
bird has flown, we've got the bat safe." 



Gringoire, stunned by his fall, lay prone upon the pave- 
ment in front of the image of Our Lady at the corner of 
the street. By slow degrees his senses returned, but for 
some moments he lay in a kind of half-somnolent state — not 
without its charms — in which the airy figures of the gipsy 
and her goat mingled strangely with the weight of Quasi- 


Sequel of the Mishap 

mode's fist. This condition, however, was of short duration. 
A very lively sense of cold in that portion of his frame which 
was in contact with the ground woke him rudely from his 
•dreams, and brought his mind back to the realities. 

" Whence comes this coolness ? " he hastily said to him- 
self, and then he discovered that he was lying in the middle 
of the gutter. 

" Devil take that hunchback Cyclops ! " he growled as he 
attempted to rise. But he was still too giddy and too bruised 
from his fall. There was nothing for it but to lie where 
he was. He still had the free use of his hands, however, so 
he held his nose and resigned himself to his fate. 

" The mud of Paris," thought he drowsily — for he now 
felt pretty well convinced that he would have to put up with 
the kennel as a bed — " has a most potent stink. It must con- 
tain a large amount of volatile and nitric acids, which is also 
the opinion of Maitre Nicolas Flamel and of the alchemists." 

The word alchemist suddenly recalled the Archdeacon 
Claude Frollo to his mind. He remembered the scene of 
violence of which he had just caught a glimpse — that the 
gipsy was struggling between two men, that Quasimodo had 
had a companion, and then the morose and haughty features 
of the Archdeacon passed vaguely through his memory. 
" That would be strange," thought he, and immediately with 
this datum and from this basis began raising a fantastic edifice 
of hypothesis, that house of cards of the philosophers. Then, 
returning suddenly to the practical, " Why, I am freezing ! " 
he cried. 

His position was indeed becoming less and less tenable. 
Each molecule of water in the gutter carried away a molecule 
of heat from Gringoire's loins, and the equilibrium between 
the temperature of the body and the temperature of the water 
was being established in a rapid and painful manner. 

Presently he was assailed by an annoyance of quite another 

A troop of children, of those little barefooted savages 
who in all times have run about the streets of Paris under 
the immemorial name of " gamins," and who, when we too 
were young, would throw stones at us when we came out 
of school because our breeches were not in rags — a swarm 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

of these young gutter-snipes came running towards the spot 
where Gringoire lay, laughing and shouting in a manner that 
showed little regard for the slumbers of their neighbours. 
After them they dragged some shapeless bundle, and the 
clatter of their wooden shoes alone was enough to wake the 
dead. Gringoire, who had not quite reached that pass, raised 
himself up on his elbow. 

" Ohe ! Hennequin Dandeche ! Ohe ! Jehan Pince- 
bourde ! " they bawled at the pitch of their voices, " old Eu- 
stache Moubon, the ironmonger at the corner, is just dead. 
We've got his straw mattress, and we're going to make a 
bonfire of it. Come on ! " 

And with that they flung the mattress right on top of 
Gringoire, whom they had come up to without perceiving, 
while at the same time one of them took a handful of straw 
and lit it at the Blessed Virgin's lamp. 

'* Mort-Christ ! " gasped Gringoire, " am I going to be 
too hot now ? " 

The moment was critical. He was on the point of being 
caught between fire and water. He made a superhuman efifort 
— such as a coiner would make to escape being boiled alive 
— staggered to his feet, heaved the mattress back upon the 
boys, and fled precipitately. 

" Holy Virgin ! " yelled the gamins, " it is the iron- 
monger's ghost ! " 

And they too ran away. 

The mattress remained master of the field. Belleforet, 
Father Le Juge, and Corrozet assert that next day it was 
picked up by the clergy of that district and conveyed with 
great pomp and ceremony to the treasury of the Church of 
Saint Opportune, where, down to 1789 the sacristan drew a 
handsome income from the great miracle worked by the 
image of the Virgin at the corner of the Rue Mauconseil, 
the which, by its mere presence, had on the memorable night 
between the sixth and seventh of January, 1482, exorcised 
the defunct Eustache Moubon, who, to balk the devil, had, 
when dying, cunningly hidden his soul in his mattress. 


The Broken Pitcher 



After running for some time as fast as his legs could 
carry him without knowing whither, rushing head foremost 
into many a street corner, leaping gutters, traversing number- 
less alleys, courts, and streets, seeking flight and passage 
among the endless meanderings of the old street round the 
Halles, exploring in his blind panic what the elegant Latin 
of the Charters describes as " tota via, cheminnni et viaria," 
our poet suddenly drew up short, first because he was out 
of breath, and secondly because an unexpected idea gripped 
his mind. 

" It appears to me, Maitre Pierre Gringoire," he apostro- 
phized himself, tapping his forehead, " that you must be 
demented to run thus. Those little ragamuffins were just 
as frightened of you as you of them. If I mistake not, you 
heard the clatter of their sabots making off southward, while 
you were fleeing to the north. Now of two things one : 
either they ran away, and the mattress, forgotten in their 
flight, is precisely the hospitable bed you have been searching 
for since the morning, and which Our Lady conveys to you 
miraculously as a reward for having composed in her honour 
a Morality accompanied by triumphs and mummeries ; or, on 
the other hand, the boys have not run away, and, in that 
case, they have set fire to the mattress, which will be exactly 
the fire you are In need of to cheer, warm, and dry you. In 
either case — good fire or good bed — the mattress is a gift 
from Heaven. The thrice-blessed Virgin Mary at the corner 
of the Rue Mauconseil has maybe caused Eustache Moubon 
to die for that identical purpose, and it is pure folly on 
your part to rush off headlong, like a Picard running from 
a Frenchman, leaving behind what you are seeking in front 
— decidedly you are an idiot ! " 

Accordingly, he began to retrace his steps, and with much 
seeking, ferreting about, nose on the scent, and ears pricked, 
he endeavoured to find his way back to that blessed mattress 
— but in vain. It was one maze of intersecting houses, blind 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

alleys, and winding streets, among which he hesitated and 
wavered continually, more bewildered and entangled in this 
network of dark alleys than he would have been in the real 
labyrinth of the Hotel des Tournelles. Finally he lost 
patience and swore aloud : " A malediction upon these alleys ! 
The devil himself must have made them after the pattern of 
his pitchfork ! " 

Somewhat relieved by this outburst, next moment his 
nerve was completely restored by catching sight of a_red 
glow at the end of a long, narrow street. 

" Heaven be praised ! " said he, " there it is — that must be 
the blaze of my mattress," and likening himself to a pilot in 
danger of foundering in the night, " Salve," he added piously, 
" Salre maris stclla! " but whether this fragment of litany v/as 
addressed to the Virgin or to the mattress, we really are 
unable to say. 

He had advanced but a few steps down the narrow street, 
which was on an incline, unpaved, and more and more miry 
as it neared the bottom, when he became aware of a curious 
fact. The street was not deserted. Here and there he caught 
sight of vague and indeterminate shapes, all crawling in the 
direction of the light that flickered at the end of the street, 
like those lumbering insects which creep at night from one 
blade of grass to another towards a shepherd's fire. 

Nothing makes one more boldly venturesome than the con- 
sciousness of an empty pocket. Gringoire, therefore, con- 
tinued his way and soon came up with the last of these weird 
objects dragging itself clumsily after the rest. On closer 
inspection he perceived that it was nothing but a miserable 
fragment, a stump of a man hobbling along painfully on his 
two hands like a mutilated grasshopper with only its front 
legs left. As he passed this kind of human spider it addressed 
him in a lamentable whine : " La buona mancia, signer! la 
hitona mancia! " * 

" The devil fly away wath thee ! " said Gringoire, " and me 
too, if I know what that means." And he passed on. 

He reached another of those ambulatory bundles and 
examined it. It was a cripple with only one leg and one arm, 

* Charity, kind sir ! 

The Broken Pitcher 

but so legless and so armless that the complicated system 
of crutches and wooden legs on which he was supported gave 
him all the appearance of a scaffolding in motion. Gringoire, 
who dearly loved noble and classical similes,, compared him 
in his own mind to the living tripod of Vulcan. 

The living tripod greeted him as he passed by, lifting his 
hat to the height of Gringoire's chin and holding it there 
like a barber's basin while he shouted tn his ear : " Senor 
cabalkro, para comprar tin pedaso de pan!" * 

" It appears," said Gringoire, " that this one talks also ; 
but it's a barbarous lingo, and he is luckier than I if he 
understands it." Then striking his forehead with a sudden 
change of thought — " That reminds me — what the devil did 
they mean this morning with their Esmeralda ? " 

He started to quicken his pace, but for the third time 
something barred the way. This something, or rather some 
one, was blind, a little blind man with a bearded, Jewish face, 
who, lunging in the space round him with a stick, and towed 
along by a great dog, snufBed out to him in a strong, Hun- 
garian accent: " Facitote caritatem!" \ 

" Thank goodness ! " exclaimed Pierre Gringoire, " at last 
here's one who can speak a Christian language, I must 
indeed have a benevolent air for them to ask alms of me, 
considering the present exhausted condition of my purse. 
My friend," and he turned to the blind man, " last week I 
sold my last shirt, or rather, as you are acquainted only with 
the language of Cicero, ' Vendidi hebdomade super transita 
nieiim ultimuman chemisam' " 

So saying, he turned his back on the blind man and 
pursued his way. But the blind man proceeded to quicken 
his pace at the same time, and behold the cripple and the 
stump also came hurrying forward with great clatter and 
rattle of crutches and supports, and all three tumbling over 
one another at poor Gringoire's heels, favoured him with 
their several songs. " Carifatem! " whined the blind man. 
" La bnona mancia!" piped the stump, and the cripple took up 
the strain with " Un pedaso de pan! " 

Gringoire stopped his ears. " Oh, tower of Babel ! " he 

* Kind sir, something to buy a piece of bread ! f Charity ! 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

cried, and set off running. The blind man ran, the cripple 
ran, the stump ran. 

And as he penetrated farther down the street, the maimed, 
the halt, and the blind began to swarm round him, while 
one-armed or one-eyed men, and lepers covered with sores, 
issued from the houses, some from little streets adjacent, 
some from the bowels of the earth, howling, bellowing, yelp- 
ing, hobbling, and clattering along, all pressing forward 
towards the glow and wallowing in the mud like slugs after 
the rain. 

Gringoire, still followed by his three persecutors, and not 
at all sure of what would come of all this, walked on be- 
wildered in the midst of this swarm, upsetting the halt, strid- 
ing over the stumps, his feet entangled in that ant-hill of 
cripples, like the English captain who was beset by a legion 
of crabs. 

It occurred to him to attempt to retrace his steps, but it 
was too late. The herd had closed up behind him and his 
three beggars held him fast. He went on, therefore, com- 
pelled at once by that irresistible flood, by fear, and by a 
sensation of giddiness which made the whole thing seem like 
some horrible nightmare. 

At last he reached the end of the street. It opened into 
an immense square in which a multitude of scattered lights 
Avere flickering through the misty gloom. Gringoire pre- 
cipitated himself into it, hoping by the speed of his legs to 
escape the three maimed spectres who had fastened them- 
selves on to him. 

" Onde ras hombrc f " "^^ cried the cripple, tossing aside his 
complicated supports and running after him with as good a 
pair of legs as ever measured a geometrical pace upon the 
pavements of Paris ; while the stump, standing erect upon 
his feet, bonneted Gringoire with the heavy iron-rimmed 
platter which served him as a support, and the blind man 
stared him in the face with great flaming eyes. 

" Where am I ? " asked the terrified poet. 

" In the Court of Miracles," replied a fourth spectre who 
had joined them. 

* Whither away, man ? 

The Broken Pitcher 

" Truly," said Gringoire, " I see that here the blind receive 
their sight and the lame walk, but where is the Saviour ? " 

Their only answer was a sinister laugh. 

The poor poet looked about him. He was, in fact, in that 
Cour des Miracles where never honest man penetrated at such 
an hour— a magic circle wherein any officer of the Chatelet 
or sergeant of the Provostry intrepid enough to risk entering 
vanished in morsels — a city of thieves, a hideous sore on the 
face of Paris ; a drain whence flowed forth each morning, 
to return at night, that stream of iniquity, of mendacity, and 
vagabondage which flows forever through the streets of a 
capital ; a monstrous hive to which all the hornets that prey 
on the social order return at night, laden with their booty; 
a fraudulent hospital where the Bohemian, the unfrocked 
monk, the ruined scholar, the good-for-nothing of every nation 
— Spaniards, Italians, Germans — and of every creed — Jews, 
Turks, and infidels — beggars covered with painted sores dur- 
ing the day were transformed at night into robbers : in a word, 
a vast green-room, serving at that period for all the actors 
in that eternal drama of robbery, prostitution, and murder 
enacted on the streets of Paris. 

It was a vast open space, irregular and ill-paved, as were 
all the squares of Paris at that time. Fires, around which 
swarmed strange groups, gleamed here and there. It was 
one ceaseless movement and clamour, shrieks of laughter, 
the wailing of babies, the voices of women. The hands and 
heads of this crowd threw a thousand grotesque outlines on 
the luminous background. The light of the fires flickered 
over the ground mingled with huge indefinite shadows, and 
across it from time to time passed some animal-like man or 
man-like animal. The boundary lines between race and spe- 
cies seemed here effaced as in a pandemonium. Men, women, 
beasts, age, sex, health and sickness, all seemed to be in 
common with this people ; all was shared, mingled, con- 
founded, superimposed, each one participated in all. 

The faint and unsteady gleam of the fires enabled Grin- 
goire through all his perturbation to distinguish that the great 
square was enclosed in a hideous framework of ancient houses, 
which, with their mouldering, shrunken, stooping fronts, each 
pierced by one or two round lighted windows, looked to him 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

in the dark like so many old women's heads, monstrous and 
cross-grained, ranged in a circle, and blinking down upon 
these witches' revels. 

It was like another and an unknown world, undreamt of, 
shapeless, crawling, swarming, fantastic. 

Gringoire, growing momentarily more affrighted, held by 
the three beggars as by so many vices, bewildered by a crowd 
of other faces that bleated and barked round him — the luckless 
Gringoire strove to collect his mind sufficiently to remember 
whether this was really Saturday — the watches' Sabbath. But 
all his efforts were useless — the link between his memory 
and his brain was broken; and doubtful of everything, vacil- 
lating between what he saw and what he felt, he asked him- 
self this insoluble question: "If I am I, then what is this? 
If this is real, then what am I ? " 

At this moment an intelligible cry detached itself from 
the buzzing of the crowd surrounding him : " Take him to the 
King ! Take him to the King ! " 

" Holy Virgin ! " muttered Gringoire, " the King of this 
place? He must be a goat!" 

"To the King! To the King!" they shouted in chorus. 

They dragged him away, each striving to fasten his claws 
on him ; but the three beggars would not loose their hold, 
and tore him from the others, yelling : " He belongs to us ! " 

The poet's doublet, already sadly ailing, gave up the ghost 
in this struggle. 

In traversing the horrible place his giddiness passed ofif, 
and after proceeding a few paces he had entirely recovered 
his sense of reality. He began to adapt himself to the atmos- 
phere of the place. In the first moments there had arisen 
from his poet's head, or perhaps quite simply and prosaically 
from his empty stomach, a fume, a vapour, so to speak, which, 
spreading itself between him and the surrounding objects, 
had permitted him to view them only through the incoherent 
mist of a nightmare, that distorting twilight of our dreams 
which exaggerates and misplaces every outline, crowding 
objects together in disproportionate groups, transforming 
ordinary things into chimeras and men into monstrous phan- 
toms. By degrees, this hallucination gave place to a less 
bewildered, less exaggerated state of mind. The real forced 


The Broken Pitcher 

itself upon him — struck upon his eyes — struck against his feet 
— and demolished, piece by piece, the terrifying vision by 
which at first he had imagined himself surrounded. He now 
perforce was aware that he was walking not through the Styx, 
but through the mud ; that he was being hustled not by 
demons, but by thieves ; that not his soul, but in simple sooth 
his life, was in danger (since he was without that invaluable 
conciliator w^hich interposes so efficaciously between the rob- 
ber and the honest man — the purse) ; in short, on examining 
the orgy more closely and in colder blood, he was obliged 
to climb down from the watches' Sabbath to the pot-house. 

And, in truth, the Court of Miracles was nothing more 
nor less than a huge tavern ; but a tavern for brigands, as 
red with blood as ever it was with wine. 

The spectacle which presented itself to him when his 
ragged escort at last brought him to the goal of his march, 
was not calculated to incline his mind to poetry, even though 
it were the poetry of hell. It was more than ever the pro- 
saic and brutal reality of the pot-house. Were we not writing 
of the fifteenth century, we would say that Gringoire had 
come down from Michael Angelo to Callot. 

Round a great fire which burned on a large round flag- 
stone, and glowed on the red-hot legs of a trivet, unoccupied 
for the moment, some worm-eaten tables were ranged hap- 
hazard, without the srnallest regard to symmetry or order. 
On these tables stood a few overflowing tankards of wine 
or beer, and grouped round them many bacchanalian faces 
reddened both by the fire and wine. Here was a man, round 
of belly and jovial of face, noisily embracing a thick-set, 
brawny trollop of the streets. Here a sham soldier, whist- 
ling cheerfully while he unwound the bandages of his false 
wound, and unstififened his sound and vigorous knee, strapped 
up since the morning in yards of ligature. Anon it was a 
malingreux — a malingerer — preparing with celandine and ox- 
blood his " jambe de Dieii " or sore leg for the morrow. Two 
tables farther on a coquiUart with his complete pilgrim's suit, 
cockle-shell on hat, was spelling out and practising the Plainti 
of Sainte-Reine in its proper sing-song tone and nasal whine. 
Elsewhere a young hubin was taking a lesson in epilepsy from 
an old sabouleux, who was teaching him how to foam at the 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

mouth by chewing a piece of soap. Close by, a dropsical 
man was removing his swelling, while four or five hags at 
the same table were quarrelling over a child they had stolen 
that evening. All of which circumstances two centuries later 
" appeared so diverting to the Court," says Sauval, " that they 
furnished pastime to the King, and the opening scene of the 
royal ballet, entitled ' Night,' which was divided into four 
parts and was danced on the stage of the Petit-Bourbon." 
" And never," adds an eye-witness in 1653, " were the sudden 
metamorphoses of the Cour des Miracles more happily repre- 
sented, Benserade prepared us for it with some very pleasing 

Loud guffaws of laughter resounded everywhere, and 
obscene songs. Each one said his say, passed his criticisms, 
and swore freely without listening to his neighbours'. Wine 
cups clinked and quarrels arose as the cups met, the smash 
of broken crockery leading further to the tearing of rags. 

A great dog sat on his tail and stared into the fire. A 
few children mingled in this orgy. The stolen child wept 
and wailed ; another, a bouncing boy of four, was seated with 
dangling legs on too high a bench, the table reaching just 
to his chin, and said not a word ; a third was engaged in 
spreading over the table with his fingers the tallow from a 
guttering candle. Lastly, a very little one was squatting in 
the mud, and almost lost in a great iron pot, which he scraped 
out with a tile, drawing sounds from it which would have 
made Stradivarius swoon. 

There was a barrel near the fire, and seated on the barrel 
a beggar. It was the King upon his throne. 

The three who had hold of Gringoire led him up to the 
barrel, and the pandemonium was silent for a moment, save 
for the caldron tenanted by the child. 

Gringoire dared not breathe or lift his eyes. 

" Homhre, quita tu sombrero" * said one of the three rogues 
in possession of him ; and before he could understand what 
this meant, another had snatched ofif his hat — a poor thing, 
it is true, but available still on a day of sunshine or of rain. 

Gringoire heaved a sigh. 

* Fellow, take off thy hat. 

The Broken Pitcher 

Meanwhile the King, from his elevated seat, demanded: 
" What sort of a rascal is this ? " 

Gringoire started. This voice, though speaking in menac- 
ing tones, reminded him of the one which that very morning 
had struck the first blow at his Mystery, as it whined in the 
middle of the audience, " Charity, I pray ! " He looked up 
— it was indeed Clopin Trouillefou. 

Clopin Trouillefou, invested with the regal insignia, had 
not one rag the more or the less upon him. The sore on his 
arm had disappeared certainly, while in his hand he held one 
of those leather-thonged whips called boullayes, and used in 
those days by the sergeants of the guard to keep back the 
crowd. On his head he had a sort of bonnet twisted into a 
circle and closed at the top ; but whether it was a child's 
cap or a king's crown it would be hard to say, so much 
did the two resemble one another. 

However, Gringoire, without any apparent reason, felt 
his hopes revive a little on recognising in the King of the 
Court of Miracles his accursed beggar of the great Hall. 

" Maitre," he stammered, '' Monseigneur — Sire — How 
must I call you?" he said at last, havinf; reached the highest 
point of his scale, and not knowing how to mount higher 
nor how to descend. 

" Monseigneur, Your Majesty, or Comrade — call me what 
thou wilt, only make haste. What hast thou to say in thy 
defence ? " 

" In my defence ? " thought Gringoire ; " I don't quite like 
the sound of that. I am the one," he stammered, " who 
this morning " 

" By the claws of the devil," broke in Clopin. " thy name, 
rascal, and nothing more! Hark ye! thou standest before 
three puissant sovereigns — myself, Clopin Trouillefou, King 
of Tunis, successor to the Grand Coesre, Supreme Ruler of 
the Kingdom of Argot; Mathis Hunyadi Spicali, Duke of 
Egypt and Bohemia, the yellow-vised old fellow over there 
with a clout round his head; Guillaume Rousseau, Emperor 
of Galilee, that fat fellow who's hugging a wench instead of 
attending to us. We are thy judges. Thou hast entered 
into the Kingdom of Argot without being an Argotier, and 
so violated the privileges of our city. Thou must pay the 


Notre Dame de Paris 

penalty unless thou art cither a capon, a franc mitou, or a 
rifodc — that is to say, in the argot of honest men, either a 
thief, a beggar, or a vagabond. Art thou any one of these? 
Come, justify thyself — describe thy qualifications." 

" Alas ! " said Gringoire, " I have not that honour, I am 
the author " 

'* That's enough," resumed Trouillefou without letting him 
finish ; " thou shalt go hang, A very simple matter, mes- 
sieurs the honest burghers. We do unto you as we are done 
by. The same law that you mete out to the Truands, the 
Truands mete out to you again. You are to blame if that 
law is a bad one. No harm if now and then an honest 
grin through the hempen collar — that makes the thing hon- 
ourable. Come, my friend, divide thy rags cheerfully among 
these ladies. I am going to string thee up for the diversion 
of the Vagabonds, and thou shalt give them thy purse for a 
pour-boire. If thou hast any last mummeries to go through, 
thou wilt find down in that wooden mortar a very passable 
stone God the Father that we stole from Saint-Pierre-aux- 
Boeufs. Thou hast four minutes to throw thy soul at his 

This was a formidable harangue. 

" Well said, by my soul ! " cried the Emperor of Galilee, 
smas-hing his wine pot to prop up his table, " Clopin Trou- 
illefou preaches like a Holy Rope ! " 

" Messeigneurs the Emperors and the Kings," said Grin- 
goire coolly (for somehow or other his courage had returned 
to him and he spoke resolutely), " you fail to understand. 
My name is Pierre Gringoire. I am a poet, the author of 
a Morality which was performed this morning in the great 
Hall of the Palais."^' 

"Ah! 'tis thou, Maitre, is it?" answered Clopin. " I was 
there myself, par la tete de Dicu! Well, comrade, is it any 
reason because thou weariedst us to death this morning that 
thou shouldst not be hanged to-night ? " 

" I shall not get out of this so easily," thought Gringoire, 
However, he had a try for it. " I see no reason why the 
poets should not come under the head of vagabonds," he said, 
" As to thieves, Mercurius was one " 

Here Clopin interrupted him : " Thou wastest time with 


The Broken Pitcher 

thy patter. Pardicu, man, be hanged quietly and without 
more ado ! " 

" Pardon me, Monsieur the King of Tunis," returned 
Gringoire, disputing the ground inch by inch ; " it is well 
worth your trouble — one moment — hear me — you will not 
condemn me without a hearing " 

In truth, his luckless voice was drowned by the hubbub 
around him. The child was scraping his kettle with greater 
vigour than ever, and, as a climax, an old woman had just 
placed on the hot trivet a pan of fat, which made as much 
noise, spitting and fizzling over the fire, as a yelling troop 
of children running after a mask at Carnival time. 

Meanwhile, Clopin Trouillefou, after conferring a moment 
with his brothers of Egypt and of Galilee, the latter of whom 
was quite drunk, cried sharply, " Silence ! " As neither the 
frying-pan nor the kettle paid any attention, but continued 
their duet, he jumped down from his barrel, gave one kick 
to the kettle, which sent it rolling ten paces from the child, 
and another to the frying-pan, upsetting all the fat into the 
fire ; then he solemnly remounted his throne, heedless of the 
smothered cries of the child or the grumbling of the old 
woman, whose supper was vanishing in beautiful white flames. 

At a sign from Trouillefou, the duke, the emperor, the 
archisuppots, and the cagoux came and ranged themselves 
round him in a horse-shoe, of which Gringoire, upon whom 
they still kept a tight hold, occupied the centre. It was a semi- 
circle of rags and tatters, of pitchforks and hatchets, of reeling 
legs and great bare arms, of sordid, haggard, and sottish faces. 
In the midst of this Round Table of the riffraff, Clopin Trou- 
illefou, as Doge of this Senate, as head of this Peerage, as 
Pope of this Conclave, dominated the heterogeneous mass ; in 
the first place by the whole height of his barrel, and then by 
virtue of a lofty, fierce, and formidable air which made his 
eye flash and rectified in his savage countenance the bestial 
type of the vagabond race. He was like a wild boar 
among swine. 

" Look you," said he to Gringoire, stroking his unsightly 
chin with his horny hand. " I see no reason why you should 
not be hanged. To be sure, the prospect does not seem to 
please you ; but that is simply because you townsfolk are not 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

used to it — you make such a tremendous business of it. After 
all, we mean you no harm. But here's one way of getting 
out of it for the moment. Will you be one of us ? " 

One may imagine the effect of this suggestion on Grin- 
goire, who saw life slipping from his grasp, and had already 
begun to loosen his hold on it. He clutched it again with 
all his might. 

" That will I most readily," he replied. 

" You consent," resumed Clopin, " to enrol yourself 
among the members of the ' petite Hambe ' (the little dagger) ? " 

" Of the Little Dagger — certainly," answered Gringoire. 

" You acknowledge yourself a member of the Free Com- 
pany ? " went on the King of Tunis. 

" Of the Free Company." 

" A subject of the Kingdom of Argot ? " 

" Of the Kingdom of Argot." 

"A Vagabond?" 

" A Vagabond." 

" With heart and soul ? " 

" Heart and soul." 

" I would have you observe," added the King, " that you 
will be none the less hanged for all that." 

" Diablel" exclaimed the poet. 

" Only," continued Clopin imperturbably, " it will take 
place somewhat later, with more ceremony, and at the ex- 
pense of the city of Paris, on a fine stone gibbet, and by 
honest men. That's some consolation." 

" I am glad you think so," responded Gringoire. 

" Then, there are other advantages. As a member of the 
Free Company you will have to contribute neither towards 
the paving, the lighting, nor the poor — taxes to which the 
burghers of Paris are subject." 

" So be it," said the poet. " I agree. I am a Vagabond, 
an Argotier, a Little Dagger — whatever you please. And, 
indeed, I was all that already. Monsieur the King of Tunis, 
for I am a philosopher and ' Omnia in philosophia, omnes m 
philosopho continentur ' — as you are aware." 

The King of Tunis knit his brows. " What do you take 
me for, my friend? What Jew of Hungary's patter are you 
treating us to now? I know no Hebrew. It's not to say 



The Broken Pitcher 

that because a man's a robber he must be a Jew. Nay, 
indeed, I do not even thieve now — I am above that — I kill. 
Cutthroat, yes ; cutpurse, no ! " 

Gringoire endeavoured to squeeze some extenuating plea 
between these brief ejaculations jerked at him by the offended 
monarch. " I ask your pardon, monsieur, but it is not 
Hebrew ; it is Latin." 

" I tell thee," retorted the enraged Clopin, " that I'm not 
a Jew, and I'll have thee hanged, ventre de synagogue! as well 
as that little usurer of Judea standing beside thee, and whom 
I hope to see some day nailed to a counter, Hke the bad 
penny that he is." 

As he spoke, he pointed to the little bearded Hungarian 
Jew who had accosted Gringoire with " Facitote caritateni," and 
who, understanding no other language, was much astonished 
that the King of Tunis should thus vent his wrath on him. 

At length Monseigneur Clopin's wrath abated. 

" So, rascal," said he to our poet, " you are willing to 
become a Vagabond ? " 

" Willingly," replied the poet. 

" Willing is not all," said Clopin grufBy. " Good-will never 
put an extra onion into the soup, and is of no value but 
for getting you into Paradise. Now, Paradise and Argot 
are two very different places. To be received into Argot 
you^ must first prove that you are good for something, and 
to thaf end you must search the manikin." 

" I will search," said Gringoire, " anything you please." 

At a sign from Clopin, several Argotiers detached them- 
selves from the group and returned a moment afterward, bear- 
ing two posts ending in two broad wooden feet, which insured 
them standing firmly on the ground. To the upper end of 
these posts they attached a cross-beam, the whole constituting 
a very pretty portable gallows, which Gringoire had the satis- 
faction of seeing erected before him in the twinkling of an 
eye. It was quite complete, even to the rope swinging grace^ 
fully from the transverse beam. 

" What are they after now ? " Gringoire asked himself 
with some uneasiness. The jingling of little bells, which at 
that moment sounded on his ear, banished his anxiety, for it 
proceeded from a stuffed figure which the Vagabonds were 

F 87 VoL 4 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

hanging by the neck to the rope, a sort of scarecrow, dressed 
in red and covered with Httle tinkhng bells sufficient to equip 
thirty Castilian mules. The jingling of these thousand bells 
continued for some time under the vibration of the rope, then 
died slowly away and sank into complete silence as the figure 
hung motionless. 

Then Clopin, pointing to a rickety old stool placed beneath 
the figure, said to Gringoire, ' ount that." 

" Death of the devil! " obj. ..d Gringoire, '' I shall break 
my neck. Your stool halts like a distich of INIartial : one leg 
is hexameter and one pentameter." 

" Get up," repeated Clopin. 

Gringoire mounted upon the stool and succeeded, though 
not without some oscillations of head and arms, in finding 
his centre of gravity. 

" Now," continued the King of Tunis, " twist your right 
foot round your left leg, and stand on tip-toe on your 
left foot." 

" Monseigneur," remonstrated Gringoire, " you are de- 
termined, then, that I should break some of my limbs? " 

Clopin shook his head. " Hark ye, friend — you talk too 
much. In two words, this is what you are to do : stand on 
tip-toe, as I told you ; you will then be able to reach the 
manikin's pocket ; you will put your hand into it and pull 
out a purse that is there. If you do all this without a sound 
from one of the bells, well and good; you shall be a Vaga- 
bond. We shall then have nothing further to do but belabour 
you well for a week." 

"Ventre Dieit! I will be careful," said Gringoire. "And 
what if I make the bells ring? " 

" Then you will be hanged. Do you understand ? " 

" No, not at all," declared Gringoire. 

" Listen once more. You are to pick the manikin's 
pocket, and if a single bell stirs during the operation you 
will be hanged. You understand that ? " 

" Yes," said Gringoire, " I understand that. What next? " 

" If you succeed in drawing out the purse without sound- 
ing a single bell, you are a Vagabond, and you will be soundly 
beaten for eight days running. You understand now, no 


The Broken Pitcher 

" No, monseigneur, I do not understand. Hanged in one 
case, beaten in the other ; where does my advantage come in ?" 

" And what about becoming a rogue ? " rejoined Clopin. 
" Is that nothing? It's in your own interest that we beat you, 
so that you may be hardened against stripes." 

" I am greatly obHged to you," replied the poet. 

" Come, make haste ! " said the King with a resounding 
kick against his barrel. " Pick the manikin's pocket and 
be done with it. I warn you for the last time that if I hear 
the faintest tinkle you shall take the manikin's place." 

The whole crew of Argotiers applauded Clopin's words, 
and ranged themselves in a circle round the gallows with 
such pitiless laughter, that Gringoire saw plainly that he was 
afifording them too much amusement not to have cause to 
fear the worst. He had therefore no hope left, save perhaps 
in the faint chance of succeeding in the desperate task imposed 
upon him. He resolved to risk it, but he first addressed a 
fervent prayer to the man of straw whom he was preparing 
to rob, and whose heart he was more likely to soften than 
those of the rogues. These myriad bells with their little 
brazen tongues seemed to him like so many asps with mouths 
open ready to hiss and bite. 

" Oh," he breathed, '' can it be that my life depends on 
the faintest vibration of the smallest of these bells? Oh," 
he added, clasping his hands, " oh, clashing, jingling, tinkling 
bells, be silent, I implore 1 " 

He made one more attempt with Trouillefou. 

" And if there should come a puff of wind ? " 

" You will be hanged," replied the other without hesi- 

Realizing that there was no respite, no delay or subterfuge 
possible, he bravely set about his task. He twisted his right 
foot round his left ankle, rose on his left foot, and stretched 
out his hand ; but as he touched the manikin, his body, being 
now supported but on one foot, swayed on the stool which 
had but three ; he clutched mechanically at the figure, lost his 
balance, and fell heavily to the ground, deafened by the fatal 
clashing of the manikin's thousand bells, while the figure, 
yielding to the thrust of his hand, first revolved on its own 
axis, and then swung majestically between the two posts. 


Notre- Dame de Paris 

" Malediction ! " exclaimed the poet as he fell, and he lay 
face downward on the earth as if dead. 

Nevertheless, he heard the terrible carillon going on above 
his head, and the diabolical laughter of the thieves, and the 
voice of Trouillefou saying : " Lift the fellow up and hang 
him double-quick ! " 

Gringoire rose to his feet. They had already unhooked 
the manikin to make room for him. 

The Argotiers forced him to mount the stool. Clopin 
then came up, passed the rope round his neck, and clapping 
him on the shoulders, " Adieu, rami," he said. " You don't 
escape this time, not even if you were as cunning as the 
Pope himself." 

The word " mercy " died on Gringoire's lips. He looked 
around him — not a sign of hope — all were laughing. 

" Bellevigne de I'Etoile," said the King of Tunis to a 
gigantic rogue, who at once stood forth from the rest, " climb 
up on to the top beam." 

Bellevigne de I'Etoile clambered nimbly up, and the next 
instant Gringoire, on raising his eyes, saw with terror that 
he was astride the cross-beam above his head. 

" Now," resumed Clopin Trouillefou, " when I clap my 
hands, do you, Andry le Rouge, knock over the stool with 
your knee ; Frangois Chante-Prune will hang on to the rascal's 
legs, and you, Bellevigne, jump on to his shoulders — but 
all three at the same time, do you hear?" 

Gringoire shuddered. 

" Ready ? " cried Clopin Trouillefou to the three Argotiers 
waiting to fall on Gringoire like spiders on a f^y. The poor 
victim had a moment of horrible suspense, during which 
Clopin calmly pushed into the fire with the point of his shoe 
some twigs of vine which the flame had not yet reached. 

" Ready ? " he repeated, and raised his hands to clap. A 
second more and it would have been all over. 

But he stopped short, struck by a sudden idea. " One 
moment," he said ; " I had forgotten. It is the custom with 
us not to hang a man without first asking if there's any 
woman who will have him. Comrade, that's your last chance. 
You must marry either an Argotiere or the rope." 

Absurd as this gipsy law may appear to the reader, he 


The Broken Pitcher 

will find it set forth at full length in old English law. 
(See Burington's Observations.) 

Gringoire breathed again. It was the second reprieve he 
had had within the last half hour. Yet he could not place 
much confidence in it. 

" Hola ! " shouted Clopin, who had reascended his throne. 
" Hola there ! women — wenches — is there any one of you, 
from the witch to her cat, any jade among you who'll have 
this rogue ? Hola Colette la Charonne ! Elisabeth Trouvain ! 
Simone Jodouyne ! Marie Piedebou ! Thonne-la-Longue ! 
Berarde Fanouel ! Michelle Genaille ! Claude Ronge-oreille ! 
Mathurine Girorou ! Hullah ! Isabeau la Thierrye ! Come 
and look ! A husband for nothing ! Who'll have him ? " 

Gringoire, in this miserable plight, was doubtless not 
exactly tempting. The ladies seemed but little moved at the 
proposal, for the unfortunate man heard them answer : " No, 
no — hang him ! Then we shall all get some enjoyment out 
of him ! " 

Three of them, however, did come forward and inspect 
him. The first, a big, square-faced young woman, carefully 
examined the philosopher's deplorable doublet. His coat was 
threadbare and with more holes in it than a chestnut roaster. 
The woman made a wry face. " An old rag," she muttered, 
and turning to Gringoire, " Let's see thy cloak." 

" I have lost it," answered Gringoire. 

"Thy hat?" 

" They took it from me." 

"Thy shoes?" 

" The soles are coming ofif." 

" Thy purse ? " 

" Alas ! " stammered Gringoire, " I haven't a single denier 

" Then be hanged and welcome ! " retorted the woman, 
turning her back on him. 

The second, a hideous old beldame, black and wrinkled, 
and so ugly as to be conspicuous even in the Court of 
Miracles, came and viewed him from all sides. He almost 
trembled lest she should take a fancy to him. But she mut- 
tered between her teeth, " He's too lean," and went away. 

The third was a young girl, rosy-cheeked and not too 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

ill-favoured. " Save me ! " whispered the poor devil. She 
considered him for a moment with an air of pity, then cast 
down her eyes, played with a fold in her petticoat, and 
stood irresolute. Gringoire followed her every movement 
with his eyes — it was the last gleam of hope. 

" No," she said at length, " no ; Guillaume Longjoue 
would beat me." So she rejoined the others. 

" Comrade," said Clopin, " you've no luck." 

Then, standing up on his barrel : " Nobody bids ? " he 
cried, mimicking the voice of an aiurtioneer to the huge 
delight of the crowd. " Nobody bids ? Going — going — " 
and, with a sign of the head to the gallows — " gone ! " 

Bellevigne de TEtoile, Andry le Rouge, Frangois Chante- 
Prune again approached Gringoire. 

At that moment a cry arose among the Argotiers : " La 
Esmeralda ! la Esmeralda ! " 

Gringoire started, and turned in the direction whence the 
shouts proceeded. The crowd opened and made way for a 
fair and radiant figure. Jt was the gipsy girl. 

"La Esmeralda?" said Gringoire, amazed even in the 
midst of his emotions how instantaneously this magic w^ord 
linked together all the recollections of his day. 

This engaging creature seemed to hold sway even over 
the Court of Miracles by the power of her exceeding charm 
and beauty. The Argotiers, male and female, drew aside 
gently to let her pass, and their brutal faces softened at 
her look. 

She approached the victim with her firm, light step, fol- 
lowed closely by her pretty Djali. Gringoire was more dead 
than alive. She regarded him a moment in silence. 

" You are going to hang this man ? " she asked gravely 
of Clopin. 

" Yes, sister," replied the King of Tunis ; " that is, unless 
thou wilt take him for thy husband." 

She thrust out her pretty under lip. 

" I will take him," said she. 

This confirmed Gringoire more than ever in his opinion 
that he had been in a dream since the morning, and that this 
was merely a continuation of it. The transformation, though 
pleasing, was violent. 


A Wedding-Night 

They instantly unfastened the noose and let the poet 
descend from the stool, after which, he was obliged to sit 
down, so overcome was he by emotion. 

The Duke of Egypt proceeded without a word to bring 
an earthenware pitcher, which the gipsy girl handed to Grin- 
goire^" saying, " Throw it ;on the ground." 

The pitcher broke in pieces. 

"Brother," said the Duke of Egypt, laying hands on the 
two heads, " she is your wife ; sister, he is your husband — 
.for four years. Qp^XQUr. .ways." 



A FEW minutes afterward our poet found himself In a 
warm and cosy little chamber with a vaulted roof, seated in 
front of a table which seemed impatient to share some of 
the contents of a small larder hanging on the wall close by, 
having a good bed in prospect, and a tcte-a-tete with a pretty 
girl. The adventure smacked decidedly of witchcraft. He 
began to take himself seriously for the hero of a fairy-tale, 
and looked about him from time to time to see whether the 
fiery chariot drawn by winged gryphons, which alone could 
have transported him so rapidly from Tartarus to Paradise, 
were still there. At intervals, too, he steadily eyed the holes 
in his doublet, in order to keep a firm hold on reality — not 
to let the earth slip away from him altogether. His reason, 
tossing on delusive waves, had only this frail spar to cling to. 

The girl paid apparently not the slightest heed to him, 
but came and went, shifting one thing and another, talking 
to her goat, making her little pouting grimace now and then 
just as if he had not been there. 

At last she came and seated herself near the table, so that 
Gringoire could contemplate her at his leisure. 

You have been young, reader — maybe, indeed, you are 
fortunate enough to be so still. It is impossible but that 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

more than once (and for my part I have spent whole days 
^the best employed of my life — in this pursuit) you have 
followed from bush to bush, beside some running brook, on 
a sunny day, some lovely dragon-fly, all iridescent, blue and 
green, darting hither and thither, kissing the tip of every 
spray. Can you forget the adoring curiosity with which your 
thoughts and your eyes were fixed upon this little darting, 
humming whirlwind of purple and azure wings, in the midst 
of which floated an intangible form, veiled, as it were, by the 
very rapidity of its motion? The aerial creature, dimly dis- 
cerned through all this flutter of wings, seemed to you chi- 
merical, illusory, intangible. But when at last the dragon-fly 
settled on the end of a reed, and you could examine, with 
bated breath, the gauzy wings, the long enamel robe, the two 
crystal globes of eyes, what amazement seized you, and what 
fear lest the exquisite creature should again vanish into 
shadow, the vision into air. Recall these impressions, and 
you will readily understand Gringoire's feelings as he con- 
templated, in her visible and palpable form, that Esmeralda, 
of whom, up till then, he had only caught a glimpse through 
a whirl of dance and song and fluttering skirts. 

Sinking deeper and deeper into his reverie : " So this," 
he said to himself, as he followed her vaguely with his eyes, 
" this is what they meant by Esmeralda — a divine creature 
— a dancer of the streets. So high, and yet so low. It was 
she who dealt the death-blow to my M3^stery this morning — 
she it is who saves my life to-night. My evil genius — my 
good angel ! And a pretty woman, on my soul ! — who must 
have loved me to distraction to have taken me like this. 
Which reminds me," said he, suddenly rising from his seat, 
impelled by that sense of the practical which formed the basis 
of his character and his philosophy — " I'm not very clear how 
it came about, but the fact remains that I am her husband." 

With this idea in his mind and in his eyes, he approached 
the girl with so enterprising and gallant an air that she 
drew back. 

" What do you want with me ? " said she. 

"Can you ask, adorable Esmeralda?" responded Grin- 
goire in such impassioned accents that he was astonished at 


A Wedding-Night 

The gipsy stared at him wide-eyed. '* I don't know what 
you mean." 

" What ? " rejoined Gringoire, growing warmer and warm- 
er, and reflecting that after all it was only a virtue of the Court 
of Miracles he had to deal with, " am I not thine, sweet- 
heart ; art thou not mine ? " and without more ado he clasped 
his arms about her. 

The gipsy slipped through his hands like an eel; wii _ne 
bound she was at the farther end of the little chai.-.^er, 
stooped, and rose with a little dagger in her hand before 
Gringoire had even time to see where she drew it from. 
There she stood, angry and erect, breathing fast with parted 
lips and fluttering nostrils, her cheeks red as peonies, her eyes 
darting lightning, while at the same moment the little white 
goat planted itself in front of her, ready to do battle with 
the offender, as it lowered its gilded but extremely sharp 
horns at him. In a twinkling the dragon-fly had turned wasp 
with every disposition to sting. 

Our philosopher stood abashed, glancing foolishly from 
the goat to its mistress. 

" Blessed Virgin ! " he exclaimed as soon as his astonish- 
ment would permit him, " what a pair of spitfires ! " 

The gipsy now broke silence. 

" You are an impudent fellow," she said. 

" Pardon me, mademoiselle," retorted Gringoire with a 
smile, "then why did you take me for your husband?" 

" Was I to let you be hanged? " 

" So that," returned the poet, somewhat disabused of his 
amorous expectations, " was all you thought of in saving 
me from the gallows? " 

" And what more should I have thought of, do you 
suppose? " 

Gringoire bit his lip. " It seems," said he, " that I am 
not quite so triumphant in Cupido as I imagined. But in 
that case, why have broken the poor pitcher? " 

All this time Esmeralda's dagger and the goat's horns 
continued on the defensive. 

" Mademoiselle Esmeralda," said the poet, " let us come 
to terms. As I am not the recorder at the Chatelet I shall 
not make difficulties about your carrying a dagger thus in 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

Paris, in the teeth of the ordinances and prohibitions of Mon- 
sieur the Provost, though you must be aware that Noel Les- 
crivain was condemned only last week to pay ten sols parisis 
for carrying a cutlass. However, that is no affair of mine, and 
I will come to the point. I swear to you by my hope of 
salvation that I will not approach you without your consent 
and permissi'on ; but, I implore you, give me some supper." 

Truth to tell, Gringoire, like M. Depreaux, was " but little 
inclined to sensuality." He had none of those swashbuckler 
and conquering w^ays that take girls by storm. In love, as 
in all other matters, he willingly resigned himself to temporiz- 
ing and a middle course, and a good supper in charming 
tete-d-tcte, especially when he was hungry, appeared to him 
an admirable interlude between the prologue and the denoue- 
ment of an amatory adventure. 

The gipsy made no reply. She pouted her lips disdain- 
fully, tossed her little head like a bird, then burst into a peal 
of laughter, and the dainty little weapon vanished as it had 
appeared, without Gringoire being able to observe where the 
wasp concealed its sting. 

A minute afterward there appeared upon the table a loaf 
of bread, a slice of bacon, some wrinkled apples, and a mug 
of beer. Gringoire fell to ravenously. To hear the furious 
clatter of his fork on the earthenware platter you would have 
concluded that all his love had turned to hunger. 

Seated opposite to him, the girl let him proceed in silence, 
being visibly preoccupied with some other thought, at which 
she smiled from time to time, while her gentle hand absently 
caressed the intelligent head of the goat pressed gently against 
her knee. A candle of yellow wax lit up this scene of voracity 
and musing. Presently, the first gnawings of his stomach 
being satisfied, Gringoire had a pang of remorse at seeing 
that nothing remained of the feast h\.]t one apple. " You are 
not eating, Mademoiselle Esmeralda?" 

She replied with a shake of the head, and fixed her pensive 
gaze on the arched roof of the chamber. 

" Now, what in the world is she absorbed in ? " thought 
Gringoire as he followed her gaze : " it can't possibly be that 
grinning dwarf's face carved in the keystone of the vaulting. 
Que diable! I can well stand the comparison ! " 


A Wedding-Night 

He raised his voice : " Mademoiselle ! " 

She seemed not to hear him. 

He tried again still louder : " Mademoiselle Esmeralda ! '* 

Labour lost. The girl's mind was elsewhere and Grin- 
goire's voice had not the power to call it back. Fortunately, 
the goat struck in and began pulling its mistress gently by 
the sleeve. 

" What is it, Djali ? " said the gipsy quickly, as if starting 
out of a dream. 

" It is hungry," said Gringoire, delighted at any opening 
for a conversation. 

Esmeralda began crumbling some bread, which Djali ate 
daintily out of the hollow of her hand. 

Gringoire gave her no time to resume her musings. He 
hazarded a delicate question. 

" So you will not have me for your husband ? " 

The girl looked at him steadily. " No," she said. 

" Nor for your lover ? " 

She thrust out her under lip and answered " No." 

"For a friend, then?" continued Gringoire. 

She regarded him fixedly, then after a moment's reflec- 
tion, " Perhaps," she replied. 

This perhaps, so dear to the philosopher, encouraged 
Gringoire. " Do you know what friendship is ? " he asked, 

" Yes," returned the gipsy. " It is to be like brother and 
sister; two souls that touch without mingling; two fingers of 
the same hand." 

" And love ? " proceeded Gringoire. 

" Oh, love," she said, and her voice vibrated and her eyes 
shone, " that is to be two and yet only one — a man and a 
woman blending into an angel — it is heaven ! " 

As she spoke, the dancing girl of the streets glowed with 
a beauty which affected Gringoire strangely, and which 
seemed to him in perfect harmony with the almost Oriental 
exaltation of her words. Her chaste and rosy lips were parted 
in a half smile, her pure and open brow was ruffled for a 
moment by her thoughts, as a mirror is dimmed by a pass- 
ing breath, and from under her long, dark, drooping lashes 
there beamed a sort of inefifable light, imparting to her face 
that ideal suavity which later on Raphael found at the mys- 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

tic point of intersection of the virginal, the human, and the 

Nevertheless, Gringoire continued : " What must a man 
be, then, to win your favour ? " 

" He must be a man ! " 

"And I," said he; "what am I, then?" 

" A man goes helmet on head, sword in hand, and gilt 
spurs on heel." 

" Good," said Gringoire, " the horse makes the man. Do 
you love any one ? " 

"As a lover?" 

" As a lover." 

She paused thoughtfully for a moment, then she said 
with a peculiar expression, " I shall know that soon." 

"And why not to-night?" rejoined the poet in tender 
accents ; " why not me ? " 

She gave him a cold, grave look. " I could never love 
a man unless he could protect me." 

Gringoire reddened and accepted the rebuke. The girl 
evidently alluded to the feeble assistance he had rendered her 
in the critical situation of a couple of hours before. This 
recollection, effaced by the subsequent adventures of the 
evening, now returned to him. He smote his forehead. 

" That reminds me, mademoiselle, I ought to have begun 
by that. Pardon my foolish distraction. How did you man- 
age to escape out of the clutches of Quasimodo ? " 

The. gipsy shuddered. "Oh, the horrible hunchback!" 
she exclaimed, hiding her face in her hands, and shivering 
as if overcome by violent cold. 

" Horrible indeed," agreed Gringoire ; " but how," he per- 
sisted, " did you get away from him ? " 

Esmeralda smiled, heaved a little sigh, and held her peace. 

" Do you know why he followed you ? " asked Gringoire, 
trying to come at the information he sought by another way. 

" No, I do not," answered the gipsy. " But," she added 
sharply, " you were following me too. Why did you fol- 
low me ? " 

" To tell you the honest truth," replied Gringoire, " I don't 
know that either." 

There was a pause. Gringoire was scratching the table 


A Wedding-Night 

with his knife ; the girl smiled to herself and seemed to be 
looking at something through the wall. Suddenly she began 
to sing, hardly above her breath : 

" Quando las pintades aves 
Mudas estan, y la tierra ..." * 

She stopped abruptly, and fell to stroking Djali. 

" That is a pretty little animal you have there." 

" It is my sister," she replied. 

" Why do they call you Es merald a ? " inquired the poet. 

"f don't know." 

" Oh, do tell me." 

She drew from her bosom a little oblong bag hanging 
round her neck by a chain of berries. The bag, which 
exhaled a strong smell of camphor, was made of green silk, 
and had in the middle a large green glass bead like an 
emerald. " It is perhaps because of that," said she. 

Gringoire puF'out his hand for the little bag, but she drew 

back. " Do jagLJouch Jtj I t is an_amulet..and either you 

will do mischief to the charm, or it will hurt you." 

Tlie poet's curiosity tsecame more and more lively. " Who 
gave it you ? " 

She laid a finger on her lips and hid the amulet again in 
her bosom. He tried her with further questions, but she 
scarcely answered. 

" What does the word Esmeralda mean ? " 

" I dol^Tki^m^^? ~"' 

" What lang uage i s it ? " 

" Egyptian, I thinl<." 

" I thought as much," said Gringoire. " You are not a 
native of this country ? " 

" I don't know." 

" Have you father or mother?" 

She began singing to an old air : 

" Mon p^re est oiseau, 
Ma mere est oiselle. 

* When the bright-hued birds are silent, 
And the earth . . . 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

Je passe I'eau sans nacelle, 
Je passe I'eau sans bateau. 
Ma m^re est oiselle, 
Mon pere est oiseau." * 

" Very good," said Gringoire. " How old were you when 
vou came to France ? " 

" Quite little." 

"And to Paris?" 

" Last year. As we came through the Porte Papale I 
saw the reed linnet fly overhead. It was the end of August ; 
I said, It will be a hard winter." 

" And so it was," said Gringoire, delighted at this turn 
in the conversation. " I spent it in blowing on my fingers. 
So joujiave the gift of prophecy ? " 
"^ She lapsed^ligam into her laconic answers — " No." 

" That man whom you call the Duke of Egypt, is he the 
head of your tribe ? " 

" Yes." 

" Well, but it was he who united us in marriage," observed 
the poet timidly. 

She made her favourite little grimace. " Why, I don't 
even know your name ! " 

" My name ? If you wish to know it, here it is — Pierre 

" I know a finer one than that," said she. 

" Ah, cruel one ! " responded the poet. " Never mind, you 
cannot provoke me. See, perhaps you will like me when 
vou know me better ; besides, vou have told me vour story 
with so much confidence that it is only fair that I should 
tell you something of mine. You must know, then, that 
my name is Pierre Gringoire. and that my father farmed the 
olBce of notary in Gonesse. He was hanged by the Burgun- 
dians, and my mother was murdered by the Picards at the time 
of the siege of Paris, twenty years ago. So, at six years of age 

* My father's a bird, 
^. . ft»^^^*\. ^y mother's another. 

<S'/^ ^A'ff\ ' P^^^ over the water 

, ^f \^\ Without boat or wherry. 

-( LIBRARY j '^ J My mother's a bird, 

i>V J ^1 And so is my father. 


A Wedding-Night 

I was an orphan, with no sole to my foot but the pavement of 
Paris. How I got through the interval from six to sixteen 
I should be at a loss to tell. A fruit-seller would throw me 
a plum here, a baker a crust of bread there. At night I 
would get picked up by the watch, who put me in prison, 
where at least I found a truss of straw to lie upon. All this 
did not prevent me from growing tall and thin, as you per- 
ceive. In winter I warmed myself in the sun in the porch 
of the Hotel de Sens, and I thought it very absurd that the 
bonfires for the Feast of Saint- John should be reserved for the 
dog-days. At sixteen I wished to adopt a trade. I tried 
everything in turn. I became a soldier, but I was lacking 
in courage ; friar, but I was not sufficiently pious — besides, 
I am a poor hand at drinking. In desperation I apprenticed 
myself to a Guild of Carpenters, but I was not strong enough. 
I had more inclination towards being a school-master : to be 
sure, I could not read, but that need not have prevented me. 
At last I was obliged to acknowledge that something was 
lacking in me for every profession ; so, finding that I was 
good for nothing, I, of my own free will, turned poet and 
composer of rhythms. That is a calling a man can adopt 
when he is a vagabond, and is always better than robbing, 
as some young friends of mine, who are themselves footpads, 
urged me to do. One fine day I was fortunate enough to 
encounter Dom Claude Frollo, the reverend Archdeacon of 
Notre-Dame. He interested himself in me, and I owe it to 
him that I am to-day a finished man of letters, being well 
versed in Latin, from Cicero's ' Offices ' to the ' Mortuology ' 
of the Celestine Fathers, nor ignorant of scholastics, of poetics, 
of music, nor even of hermetics nor alchemy — that subtlety 
of subtleties. Then, I am the author of the Mystery repre- 
sented with great triumph and concourse of the people, filling 
the great Hall of the Palais de Justice. Moreover, I have 
written a book running to six hundred pages on the pro- 
digious comet of 1465, over which a man lost his reason. 
Other successes, too, I have had. Being somewhat of an 
artillery carpenter, I helped in the construction of that- great 
bombard of Jean Maugue, which, as you know, burst on the 
Charenton bridge the first time it was tried and killed, four- 
and-twenty of the spectators. So, you see, I am not such 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

a bad match. I know many very pleasing tricks which I 
would teach your goat ; for instance, to imitate the Bishop 
of Paris, that accursed Pharisee whose mill-wheels splash the 
passengers the whole length of the Pont-aux-Meuniers. And 
then my Mystery play will bring me in a great deal of money, 
if only they pay me. In short, I am wholly at your service 
— myself, my wit, my science, and my learning; ready, dam- 
oselle, to live with you as it shall please you — in chastity 
or pleasure — as man and wife, if so you think good — as 
brother and sister, if it please you better." 

Gringoire stopped, waiting for the effect of his long speech 
on the girl. Her eyes w-ere fixed on the ground. 

" Phcebus," she murmured. Then, turning to the poet, 
" Phoebus, what does that mean ? " 

Gringoire, though not exactly seeing the connection be- 
tween his harangue and this question, was nothing loath to 
exhibit his erudition. Bridling with conscious pride, he 
answered : " It is a Latin word meaning ' the sun.' " 

" The sun ! " she exclaimed. 

" And the name of a certain handsome archer, who was 
a god," added Gringoire. 

" A god ! " repeated the gipsy with something pensive 
and passionate in her tone. 

At that moment one of her bracelets became unfastened 
and slipped to the ground. Gringoire bent quickly to pick 
it up ; when he rose the girl and her goat had disappeared. 
He only heard the sound of a bolt being shot Av-hich came 
from a little door leading, doubtless, into an inner room. 

" Has she, at least, left me a bed ? " inquired our phi- 

He made the tour of the chamber. He found no piece of 
furniture suitable for slumber but a long wooden chest, and its 
lid was profusely carved, so that when Gringoire lay down upon 
it he felt very much as Micromegas must have done when 
he stretched himself at full length to slumber on the Alps. 

" Well," he said, accommodating himself as best he might 
to the inequalities of his couch, " one must make the best of 
it. But this is indeed a strange wedding-night. 'Tis a pity, 
too ; there was something guileless and antediluvian about 
that marriage by broken pitcher that took my fancy." 

1 02 



Assuredly the Cathedral of Notre-Dame at Paris is, to 
this day, a majestic and sublime edifice. But noble as it 
has remained while growing old, one cannot but regret, can- 
not but feel indignant at the innumerable degradations and 
mutilations inflicted on the venerable pile, both by the action 
of time and the hand of man, regardless alike of Charlemagne, 
who laid the first stone, and Philip Augustus, who laid 
the last. 

On the face of this ancient queen of our cathedrals, 
beside each wrinkle one invariably finds a scar. " Tcmpiis 
edax, homo edacior," which I would be inclined to translate: 
" Time is blind, but man is senseless." 

Had we, with the reader, the leisure to examine, one by 
one, the traces of the destruction wrought on this ancient 
church, we should have to impute the smallest share to Time, 
the largest to men, and more especially to those whom we 
must perforce call artists, since, during the last two cen- 
turies, there have been individuals among them who assumed 
the title of architect. 

And first of all, to cite only a few prominent examples, 
there are surely few such wonderful pages in the book of 
Architecture as the fagades of the Cathedral. Here unfold 
themselves to the eye, successively and at one glance, the three 
deep Gothic doorways; the richly traced and sculptured band 
of twenty-eight royal niches ; the immense central rose-win- 
dow, flanked by its two lateral windows, like a priest by the 
deacon and subdeacon; the lofty and fragile gallery of trifoli- 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

aled arches supporting a heavy platform on its slender col- 
umns ; finally, the two dark and massive towers with their 
projecting slate roofs — harmonious parts of one magnificent 
whole, rising one above another in five gigantic storeys, massed 
yet unconfused, their innumerable details of statuary, sculp- 
ture, and carving boldly allied to the impassive grandeur of 
the whole. A vast symphony in stone, as it were ; the colossal 
achievement of a man and a nation — one and yet complex — 
like the Iliades and the Romances to which it is sister — pro- 
digious result of the union of all the resources of an epoch, 
where on every stone is displayed in a hundred variations 
the fancy of the craftsman controlled by the genius of the 
artist ; in a word, a sort of human Creation, mighty and 
prolific, like the divine Creation, of which it seems to have 
caught the double characteristics — variety and eternity. 

And what we say here of the fagade applies to the en- 
tire church ; and what we say of the Cathedral of Paris 
may be said of all the ministers of Christendom in the Middle 

Everything stands in its proper relation in that self-evolved 
art, is logical, well-proportioned. By measuring one toe you 
can estimate the height of the giant. 

To return to the fagade of Notre-Dame, as we see it 
to-day, when w^e stand lost in pious admiration of the mighty 
and awe-inspiring Cathedral, which, according to the chron- 
iclers, strikes the beholder with terror — qiice mole sua terrorem 
incntit spectantibus. 

Three important things are now missing in that fagade : 
the flight of eleven steps which raised it above the level of 
the ground ; the lower row of statues occupying the niches of 
the three doorways ; and the upper series of twenty-eight, 
w'hich filled the gallery of the first story and represented the 
earliest Kings of France, from Childebert to Philip Augustus, 
each holding in his hand the " imperial orb." 

The disappearance of the steps is due to Time, which by 
slow and irresistible degrees has raised the level of the soil 
of the city. But Time, though permitting these eleven steps, 
which added to the stately elevation of the pile, to be swal- 
lowed by the rising tide of the Paris pavement, has given to 
the Cathedral more perhaps than he took away; for it was 



the hand of Time that steeped its facade in those rich and 
sombre tints by which the old age of monuments becomes 
their period of beauty. 

But who has overthrown the two rows of statues? Who 
has left the niches empty? Who has scooped out, in the 
very middle of the central door, that new and bastard-pointed 
arch? Who has dared to hang in it, cheek by jowl with 
Biscornette's arabesques, that tasteless and clumsy wooden 
door with Louis XV carvings? Man — the architects — the 
artists of our own day ! 

And, if we enter the interior of the edifice, who has over- 
thrown the colossal St. Christopher, proverbial among statues 
as the Grande Salle of the Palais among Halls, as the spire 
of Strasbourg Cathedral among steeples? And the countless 
figures — kneeling, standing, equestrian, men, women, chil- 
dren, kings, bishops, knights, of stone, marble, gold, silver, 
brass, even w'ax — which peopled all the spaces between the 
columns of the nave and the choir — what brutal hand has 
swept them away? Not that of Time. 

And who replaced the ancient Gothic altar, splendidly 
charged with shrines and reliquaries, by that ponderous mar- 
ble sarcophagus with its stone clouds and cherubs' heads, 
which looks like an odd piece out of the Val de Grace or of 
the Invahdes? And who was so besotted as to fix this 
lumbering stone anachronism into the Carlovingian pavement 
of Hercandus? Was it not Louis XIV, in fulfilment of the 
vow of Louis XIII ? 

And who put cold white glass in the place of those 
" richly coloured " panes which caused the dazzled eyes of 
our forefathers to wander undecided from the rose-window 
over the great doorway to the pointed ones of the chancel 
and back again? And what would a priest of the six- 
teenth century say to the fine yellow wash with w-hich the 
vandal Archbishops have smeared the walls of their Cathe- 
dral? He would recollect that this was the colour the hang- 
man painted over houses of evil-fame ; he would recall the 
Hotel de Petit-Bourbon plastered all over with yellow because 
of the treason of its owner, the Connetable — " a yellow of 
so permanent a dye," says Sauval, " and so well laid on, that 
the passage of more than a century has not succeeded in 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

dimming its colour." He would think that the Holy Place 
had become infamous and would flee from it. 

And if we ascend the Cathedral, passing over a thousand 
barbarisms of every description — what has become of the 
charming little belfry, fretted, slender, pointed, sonorous, 
which rose from the point of intersection of the transept, and 
every whit as delicate and as bold as its neighbour the spire 
(likewise destroyed) of the Sainte-Chapelle, soared into the 
blue, farther even than the towers. An architect " of taste " 
(1787) had it amputated, and deemed it sufftcient reparation 
to hide the wound under the great lead plaster which looks 
like the lid of a sauce-pan. 

Thus has the marvellous art of the Middle Ages been 
treated in almost ever}^ country, but especially in France. In 
its ruin three distinct factors can be traced, causing wounds 
of varying depths. First of all. Time, which has gradually 
made breaches here and there and gnawed its whole surface ; 
next, religious and political revolutions, which, in the blind 
fury natural to them, wreaked their tempestuous passions 
upon it, rent its rich garment of sculpture and carving, burst 
in its rose-windows, broke its necklets of arabesques and 
figurines, tore down its statues, one time for their mitres, 
another time for their crowns ; and finally, the various fash- 
ions, growing ever more grotesque and senseless, which, 
from the anarchical yet splendid deviations of the Re- 
naissance onwards, have succeeded one another in the inevita- 
ble decadence of Architecture. Fashion has committed more 
crimes than revolution. It has cut to the quick, it has 
attacked the very bone and framework of the art ; has man- 
gled, pared, dislocated, destroyed the edifice — in its form as 
in its symbolism, in its coherence as in its beauty. This 
achieved, it set about renewing — a thing which Time and 
Revolution, at least, never had the presumption to do. With 
unblushing effrontery, " in the interests of good taste," it 
has plastered over the wounds of Gothic architecture with 
its trumpery knick-knacks, its marble ribbons and knots, its 
metal rosettes — a perfect eruption of ovolos, scrolls, and scal- 
lops; of draperies, garlands, fringes; of marble flames and 
brazen clouds ; of blowzy cupids and inflated cherubs, which 
began by devouring the face of art in the oratory of Cath- 



erine de Medicis, and ended by causing it to expire, tortured 
and grimacing, two centuries later, in the boudoir of Mme. 

Thus, to sum up the points we have just discussed, the^ 
ravages that now disfigure Gothic architecture are of three 
distinct kinds : furrows and blotches wrought by the hand 
of Time ; practical violence — brutalities, bruises, fractures — • 
the outcome of ' 'olution, from Luther down to Mirabeau ; 
mutilations, amp . .tions, dislocation of members, restora- 
tions, the result of the labours — Greek, Roman, and bar- 
barian — of the professors following out the rules of Vitruvius 
and Vignola. That magnificent art which the Goths created 
has been murdered by the Academies. 

To the devastations of Time and of Revolutions — carried 
out at least with impartiality and grandeur — have been added 
those of a swarm of school-trained architects, duly licensed 
and incorporated, degrading their art deliberately and, with 
all the discernment of bad taste, substituting the Louis XV 
fussiness for Gothic simplicity, and all to the greater glory 
of the Parthenon. This is the kick of the ass to the dying 
lion ; it is the ancient oak, dead already above, gnawed at the 
roots by worms and vermin. 

How remote is this from the time when Robert Cenalis, 
comparing Notre-Dame at Paris with the far-famed Temple 
of Diana at Ephesus, " so much vaunted by the ancient 
pagans," which immortalized Erostratus, considered the Gal- 
ilean Cathedral " more excellent in length, breadth, height, 
and structure." * 

For the rest, Notre-Dame cannot, from the architectural 
point of view, be called complete, definite, classified. It is 
not a Roman church, neither is it a Gothic church. It is not 
typical of any style of architecture, Notre-Dame has not, 
like the Abbey of Tournus, the grave and massive squareness, 
the round, wide, vaulted roof, the frigid nudity, the majestic 
simplicity of the edifices which have their origin in the Roman 
arch. Nor is it like the Cathedral of Bourges, the splendid, 
airy, multiform, foliated, pinnacled, effiorescent product of the 
Gothic arch. Impossible, either, to rank it among that an- 

* Hisioire Gallicane, Book ii, period ii, fol. 130, p. 4. — Author's note. 

107 / 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

tique family of churches — sombre, mysterious, low-pitched, 
cowering, as it were, under the weight of the round arch ; half 
Egyptian, wholly hieroglyphical, wholly sacerdotal, wholly 
symbolical ; as regards ornament, rather overloaded with 
lozenges and zigzags than with flowers, with flowers than 
animals, with animals than human figures ; less the work of 
the architect than the Bishop, the first transformation of the 
art still deeply imbued with theocratic and military discipline, 
having its root in the Byzantine Empire, and stopping short 
at William the Conqueror. Nor, again, can the Cathedral 
be ranked with tliat other order of lofty, aerial churches, with 
their wealth of painted windows and sculptured work, with 
their sharp pinnacles and bold outlines ; communal and citizen 
— regarded as political symbols ; free, capricious, untram- 
melled — regarded as works of art. This is the second trans- 
formation of architecture — no longer cryptic, sacerdotal, inev- 
itable, but artistic, progressive, popular — beginning with the 
return from the Crusades and ending with Louis XL 

Notre-Dame is neither pure Roman, like the first, nor pure 
Gothic, like the second ; it is an edifice of the transition 
period. The Saxon architect had just finished erecting the 
first pillars of the nave when the pointed arch, brought back 
by the Crusaders, arrived and planted itself victorious on the 
broad Roman capitals which were intended only to support 
round arches. Master, henceforth, of the situation, the pointed 
arch determined the construction of the rest of the building. 
Inexperienced and timid at its commencement, it remains 
wide and low, restraining itself, as it were, not daring to soar 
up into the arrows and lancets of the marvellous cathedrals 
of the later period. It would almost seem that it was affected 
by the proximity of the heavy Roman pillars. 

Not that these edifices showing the transition from Roman 
to Gothic are less worthy of study than the pure models. 
They express a gradation of the art which would ©Ise be 
lost. It is the grafting of the pointed arch on to the cir- 
cular arch. 

Notre-Dame de Paris, in particular, is a curious specimen 
of this variety. Every surface, every stone of this venerable 
pile, is a page of the history not only of the country, but 
of science and of art. Thus — to mention here only a few 



of the chief details — whereas the small Porte Rouge almost 
touches the limits of fifteenth century Gothic delicacy, the 
pillars of the nave, by their massiveness and great girth, 
reach back to the Carlovingian Abbey of Saint-Germain-des- 
Pres. One would imagine that six centuries lay between 
that door and those pillars. Not even the Hermetics fail 
to find in the symbols of the grand doorway a satisfactory 
compendium of their science, of which the Church of Saint- 
Jacques-de-la-Boucherie was so complete a hieroglyph. Thus 
the Roman Abbey — the Church of the Mystics — Gothic art 
— Saxon art — the ponderous round pillar reminiscent of 
Gregory VII, the alchemistic symbolism by which Nicolas 
Flamel paved the way for Luther — papal unity — schism — 
Saint-Germain-des-Pres — Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie — all 
are blended, combined, amalgamated in Notre-Dame. This 
generative Mother-Church is, among the other ancient 
churches of Paris, a sort of Chimera : she has the head of one, 
the limbs of another, the body of a third — something of all. 

These hybrid edifices are, we repeat, by no means the 
least interesting to the artist, the antiquary, and the historian. 
They let us realize to how great a degree architecture is 
a primitive matter, in that they demonstrate, as do the 
Cyclopean remains, the Pyramids of Egypt, the gigantic 
Hindu pagodas, that the greatest productions of architecture 
are not so much the work of individuals as of a community ; 
are rather the offspring of a nation's labour than the out- 
come of individual genius ; the deposit of a whole people ; 
the heaped-up treasure of centuries ; the residuum left by the 
successive evaporations of human society ; in a word, a spe- 
cies of formations. Each wave of time leaves its coating of 
alluvium, each race deposits its layer on the monuments, each 
individual contributes his stone to it. Thus do the beavers 
work, thus the bees, thus man. Babel, that great symbol 
of architecture, is a bes-hive. 

Great edifice?, like the great mountains, are the work of 
ages. Often art undergoes a transformation while they are 
waiting pending completion — pendent opera interrupfa — they 
then proceed imperturbably in conformity with the new order 
of things. The new art takes possession of the monument 
at the point at which it finds it, absorbs itself into it, de- 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

velops it after its own idea, and completes it if it can. The 
matter is accomplished without disturbance, without effort, 
without reaction, in obedience to an undeviating, peaceful 
law of nature — a shoot is grafted on, the sap circulates, a 
fresh vegetation is in progress. Truly, there is matter for 
mighty volumes ; often, indeed, for a universal history of 
mankind, in these successive layers of different periods of 
art, on different levels of the same edifice. The man, the 
artist, the individual, are lost sight of in these massive piles 
that have no record of authorship ; they are an epitome, a 
totalization of human intelligence. Time is the architect — 
a nation is the builder. 

Reviewing here only Christo-European architecture, that 
younger sister of the great Masonic movements of the East, 
it presents the aspect of a huge formation divided into three 
sharply defined superincumbent zones : the Roman,* the 
Greek, and that of the Renaissance, which we would prefer to 
call the Greco-Romanesque. The Roman stratum, the oldest 
and the lowest of the three, is occupied by the circular arch, 
which reappears, supported by the Greek column, in the mod- 
ern and upper stratum of the Renaissance. Between the two 
comes the pointed arch. The edifices w^hich belong exclu- 
sively to one or other of these three strata are perfectly dis- 
tinct, uniform, and complete in themselves. The Abbey of 
Jumieges is one, the Cathedral of Reims another, the Sainte- 
Croix of Orleans is a third. But the three zones mingle 
and overlap one another at the edges, like the colours of 
the solar spectrum ; hence these complex buildings, these 
edifices of the gradational, transitional period. One of them 
will be Roman as to its feet, Greek as to its body, and Greco- 
Romanesque as to its head. That happens when it has taken 
six hundred years in the building. But that variety is rare : 
the castle-keep of Etampes is a specimen. Edifices of two 
styles are more frequent. Such is Notre-Dame of Paris, a 
Gothic structure, rooted by its earliest pillars in that Roman 

* This is also known, according to situation, race, or style, as Lom- 
bard, Saxon, or Byzantine : four sister and parallel architectures, each 
having its own peculiar characteristics, but all deriving from the same 
principle — the circular arch. Fades non omnibus una, non diver sa tamen, 
quakm, etc. — Author's note. 



zone in which the portal of Saint-Denis and the nave of Saint- 
Germain-des-Pres' are eatirely sunk. Such again is the semi- 
Gothic Chapter Hall of Bocherville, in which the Roman 
layer reaches half-way up. Such is the Cathedral at Rouen, 
which would be wholly Gothic had not the point of its central 
spire reached up into the Renaissance.* 

For the rest, all these gradations, these differences, do but 
affect the surface of the building. Art has changed its skin, 
but the actual conformation of the Christian Church has 
remained untouched. It has ever the same internal structure, 
the same logical disposition of the parts. Be the sculptured 
and decorated envelope of a cathedral as it will, underneath, 
at least, as germ or rudiment, we invariably find the Roman 
basilica. It develops itself unswervingly on this foundation 
and following the same rules. There are invariably two naves 
crossing each other at right angles, the upper end of which, 
rounded off in a half circle, forms the choir ; there are always 
two lower-pitched side-aisles for the processions — the chapels 
— sort of lateral passages communicating with the nave by its 
intercolumnar spaces. These conditions once fulfilled, the 
number of chapels, doorways, steeples, spires, may be varied 
to infinity, according to the fancy of the age, the nation, or 
the art. The proper observances of worship once provided 
for and insured, architecture is free to do as she pleases. 
Statues, stained glass, rose-windows, arabesques, flutings, capi- 
tals, bas-reliefs — all these flowers of fancy she distributes as 
best suits her particular scheme of the moment. Hence the 
prodigious variety in the exterior of these edifices, in the 
underlying structure of which there rules so much order and 
uniformity. The trunk of the tree is unchanging ; its vege- 
tation only is variable. 

* This part of the spire, which was of timber, was destroyed by light< 
ning in 1823. — Author's note. 

Ill Vol. 4 

Notre-Dame de Paris 


A bird's-eye view of PARIS 

We have endeavoured to restore for the reader this 
admirable Cathedral of Notre-Dame. We have briefly enu- 
merated most of the beauties it possessed in the fifteenth 
century, though lost to it now ; but we have omitted the 
chief one — the view of Paris as it then appeared from the 
summits of the towers. 

When, after long gropings up the dark perpendicular 
stair-case which pierces the thick walls of the steeple towers, 
one emerged at last unexpectedly on to one of the two high 
platforms inundated with light and air, it was in truth a 
marvellous picture spread out before you on every side ; a 
spectacle sui generis of which those of our readers can best 
form an idea who have had the good fortune to see a purely 
Gothic city, complete and homogeneous, of which there are 
still a few remaining, such as Nuremberg in Bavaria, Vittoria 
in Spain, or even smaller specimens, provided they are well- 
preserved, like Vitre in Brittany and Nordhausen in Prussia. 

The Paris of that day, the Paris of the fifteenth century, 
was already a giant city. We Parisians in general are mistaken 
as to the amount of ground we imagine we have gained 
since then. Paris, since the time of Louis XI, has not 
increased by much more than a third; and, truth to tell, has 
lost far more in beauty than ever it has gained in size. 

Paris first saw the light on that ancient island in the 
Seine, the Cite, which has, in fact, the form of a cradle. The 
strand of this island was its first enclosure, the Seine its first 

For several centuries Paris remained an island, with two 
bridges, one north, the other south, and two bridge heads, 
which were at once its gates and its fortresses : the Grand- 
Chatelet on the right bank, the Petit-Chatelet on the left. 
Then, after the kings of -the first generation, Paris, finding 
itself too cramped on its island home, where it no longer 
had room to turn round, crossed the river ; whereupon, beyond 
each of the bridge-fortresses, a first circle of walls and towers 



A Bird's-Eye View of Paris 

began to enclose pieces of the land on either side of the Seine. 
Of this ancient wall some vestiges were still standing in the 
last century ; to-day, nothing is left but the memory, and here 
and there a tradition, such as the Baudets or Baudoyer Gate 
— porta bagauda. 

By degrees the flood of dwellings, constantly pressing 
forward from the heart of the city, overflows, saps, eats away, 
and finally swallows up this enclosure. Philip Augustus makes 
a fresh line of circumvallation, and immures Paris within a 
chain of massive and lofty towers. For upward of a century 
the houses press upon one another, accumulate, and rise in 
this basin like water in a reservoir. They begin to burrow 
deeper in the ground, they pile storey upon storey, they climb 
one upon another, they shoot up in height like all compressed 
growth, and each strives to raise its head above its neighbour 
for a breath of air. The streets grow ever deeper and nar- 
rower, every open space fills up and disappears, till, finally, the 
houses overleap the wall of Philip Augustus, and spread them- 
selves joyfully over the country like escaped prisoners, with- 
out plan or system, gathering themselves together in knots, 
cutting slices out of the surrounding fields for gardens, taking 
plenty of elbow-room. 

By 1367, the town has made such inroads on the suburb 
that a new enclosure has become necessary, especially on the 
right bank, and is accordingly built by Charles V. But a 
town like Paris is in a state of perpetual growth — it is only 
such cities that become capitals. They are the reservoirs into 
which are directed all the streams — geographical, political, 
moral, intellectual — of a country, all the natural tendencies 
of the people ; wells of civilization, so to speak — but also out- 
lets — where commerce, manufacture, intelligence, population, 
all that there is of vital fluid, of life, of soul, in a people, 
filters through and collects incessantly, drop by drop, century 
by century. The wall of Charles V, however, endures the 
same fate as that of Philip Augustus. By the beginning ol 
the fifteenth century it, too, is overstepped, left behind, the 
new suburb hurries on, and in the sixteenth century it seems 
visibly to recede farther and farther into the depths of the 
old city, so dense has the new town become outside it. 

Thus, by the fifteenth century — to go no farther — Paris 


Notre- Dame de Paris 

had already consumed the three concentric circles of wall, 
which, in the time of Julian the Apostate, were in embryo, 
so to speak, in the Grand-Chatelet and the Petit-Chatelet. 
The mighty city had successively burst its four girdles of 
wall like a child grown out of last year's garments. Under 
Louis XI, clusters of ruined towers belonging to the old 
fortified walls were still visible, rising out of the sea of houses 
like hilltops out of an inundation — the archipelagoes of the 
old Paris, submerged beneath the new. 

Since then, unfortunately for us, Paris has changed again ; 
but it has broken through one more enclosure, that of Louis 
XV, a wretched wall of mud and rubbish, well worthy of the 
King who built it and of the poet who sang of it : 

" Le mur murant Paris rend Paris murmurant." * 

In the fifteenth century Paris was still divided into three 
towns, perfectly distinct and separate, having each its peculiar 
features, speciality, manners, customs, privileges, and history : 
the City, the University, the Town. The City, which occu- 
pied the island, was the oldest and the smallest of the trio — 
the mother of the other two — looking, if we may be allowed 
the comparison, like a little old woman between two tall and 
blooming daughters. The University covered the left bank 
of the Seine from the Tournelle to the Tour de Nesle — points 
corresponding in the Paris of to-day to the Halles-aux-Vins 
and the Mint, its circular wall taking in a pretty large portion 
of that ground on which Julian had built his baths. f It also 
included the Hill of Sainte-Genevieve. The outermost point of 
the curving wall was the Papal Gate ; that is to say, just 
about the site of the Pantheon. The Town, the largest of 
the three divisions of Paris, occupied the right bank. Its 
quay, interrupted at several points, stretched along the Seine 
from the Tour de Billy to the Tour du Bois ; that is, from 
the spot where the Grenier d'Abondance now stands to that 
occupied by the Tuileries. These four points at which the 
Seine cut through the circumference of the capital — la Tour- 

* This might be freely translated : The dam damming Paris, sets Paris 

f Portions of these Roman baths still exist in the Hotel de Cluny. 


A Bird's-Eye View of Paris 

nelU^^^. ' 3"ci the Tour de Nesle on the left, the Tour de Billy and 

the :^^^ ^^our de Bois on the right bank — were called par excellence 

" th "^ ^^ four towers of Paris." The Town encroached more 

ieej ^^^ 3^y i^to the surrounding country than did the University. 

\q T?i*" farthest point of its enclosing wall (the one built by 

Charles V) was at the gates of Saint-Denis and Saint-Martin, 

the situation of which has not changed. 

As we have already stated, each of these three great divi- 
sions of Paris was a town — but a town too specialized to be 
complete, a town which could not dispense with the other 
two. So, too, each had its peculiarly characteristic aspect. 
In the City, churches were the prevailing feature ; in the Town, 
palaces; in the University, colleges. Setting aside the less 
important originalities of Paris and the capricious legal intri- 
cacies of the right of way, and taking note only of the col- 
lective and important masses in the chaos of communal 
jurisdictions, we may say that, broadly speaking, the island 
belonged to the Bishop, the right bank to the Provost of 
the Merchants' Guild, and the left bank to the Rector of the 
University. The Provost_of Paris— a_royal, not a municipal... 
office — had aufhqrity over all. The City boasted Notre- 
Dame'^Th'e'Town, the Louvre and the H6tel-de-Ville ; the 
University, the Sorbonne. Again, the Town had the Halles, 
the City the Hotel-Dieu, the University the Pre-aux-Clercs.* 
Crimes committed by the students on the right bank, were 
tried on the island in the Palais de Justice, and punished on 
the right bank at Montfaucon, unless the Rector, feeling the 
University to be strong and the King weak, thought fit to 
intervene ; for the scholars enjoyed the privilege of being 
hanged on their own premises. 

• Most of these privileges (we may remark in passing), and 
there were some of even greater value than this, had been 
extorted from the kings by mutiny and revolts. It is the 
immemorial course : Le roi ne lache que qnand le pcuple ar- 
rache — the King only gives up what the people wrest from 
him. There is an old French charter which defines this pop- 
ular loyalty with great simplicity : Civibus Udelitas in reges, 

* The recreation and fighting ground of the students, the present Fau- 
bourg Saint-Germain. 


Notre-Dame de Paris I 

qitoc tamcn aliquoties scditionibus interrupta, multa pepcrit priv- 
ilcgia.* I 

In the fifteenth century the Seine embraced five islands 
within the purHcus of Paris: the Louvre,^ on which trees 
then grew ; the Ile-aux-Vaches and the lie Notre-Dame, 
both uninhabited except for one poor hovel, both fiefs of the 
Bishop (in the seventeenth century these two islands were 
made into one and built upon, now known as the lie Saint- 
Louis) ; finally the City, having at its western extremity the 
islet of the Passeur-aux-Vaches — the cattle ferry — now buried 
under the foundations of the Pont Neuf. The City had, in 
those days, five bridges — three on the right : the Pont Notre- 
Dame and the Pont-au-Change being of stone, and the Pont- 
aux-Meuniers of wood ; and two on the left : the Petit-Pont 
of stone, and the Pont Saint-Michel of wood — all lined with 
houses. The University had six gates built by Philip Au- 
gustus, namely — starting from the Tournelle — the Porte Saint- 
Victor, the Porte Bordelle, the Porte Papale, the Porte Saint- 
Jacques, the Porte Saint-Michel and the Porte Saint-Germain. 
The Town also had six gates, built by Charles V, namely — 
starting from the Tour de Billy — the Porte Saint-Antoine, 
the Porte du Temple, the Porte Saint-Martin, the Porte Saint- 
Denis, the Porte Montmartre and the Porte Saint-Honore. 
All these gates were strong, and at the same time handsome 
— which is no detriment to strength. A wide and deep fosse, 
filled during the winter months with a swift stream supplied 
by the Seine, washed the foot of the w^alls all round Paris. At 
night the gates were shut, the river was barred at the two 
extremities of the town by the massive iron chains, and Paris 
slept in peace. 

From a bird's-eye view, these three great divisions — the 
City, the University, and the Town — presented each an inex- 
tricably tangled network of streets to the eye. Nevertheless, 
one recognised at a glance that the three fragments formed 
together a single body. You at once distinguished two long, 
parallel streets running, without a break or deviation, almost 
in a straight line through all these towns from end to end, 

* Fidelity to the kings, though broken at times by revolts, procured 
the burghers many privileges. 


A Bird's-Eye View of Paris 

from south to north, at right angles with the Seine ; con- 
necting, minghng, transfusing them, incessantly pouring the 
inhabitants of one into the walls of the other, blending the 
three into one. One of these two streets ran from the Porte 
Saint-Jacques to the Porte Saint-Martin, and was called Rue 
Saint-Jacques in the University, Rue de la Juiverie (Jewry) 
in the City, and Rue Saint-Martin in the Town, crossing the 
river twice, as the Petit-Pont and the Pont Notre-Dame. 
The second — which was called Rue de la Harpe on the left 
bank, Rue de la Barillerie on the island. Rue Saint-Denis 
on the right bank, Pont Saint-Michel on one arm of the 
Seine, Pont-au-Change on the other — ran from the Porte 
Saint-Michel in the University to the Porte Saint-Denis in 
the Town. For the rest, under however many names, they 
were still only the two streets, the two thoroughfares, the 
two mother-streets, the main arteries of Paris, from which 
all the other ducts of the triple city started, or into which 
they flowed. 

Independently of these two principal streets, cutting dia- 
metrically through the breadth of Paris and common to the 
entire capital, the Town and the University had each its own 
main street running in the direction of their length, parallel 
to the Seine, and intersecting the two " arterial " streets at 
right angles. Thus, in the Town you descended in a straight 
line from the Porte Saint-Antoine to the Porte Saint-Honore ; 
in the University, from the Porte Saint-Victor to the Porte 
Saint-Germain. These two great thoroughfares, crossing the 
two first mentioned, formed the frame on to which was woven 
the knotted, tortuous network of the streets of Paris. In the 
inextricable tangle of this network, however, on closer inspec- 
tion, two sheaf-like clusters of streets could be distinguished, 
one in the University, one in the Town, spreading out from 
the bridges to the gates. Something of the same geometrical 
plan still exists. 

Now, what aspect did this present when viewed from the 
top of the towers of Notre-Dame in 1482 ? 

That is what we will endeavour to describe. 

To the spectator, arrived breathless on this summit, the 
first glance revealed only a bewildering jumble of roofs, 
chimneys, streets, bridges, squares, spires, and steeples. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

Everything burst upon the eye at once — the carved gable, the 
high, pointed roof, the turret cHnging to the corner wall, the 
stone pyramid of the • eleventh century, the slate obelisk of 
the fifteenth, the round, stark tower of the donjon-keep, the 
square and elaborately decorated tower of the church, the 
large, the small, the massive, the airy. The gaze was lost 
for long and completely in this maze, where there was nothing 
that had not its own originality, its reason, its touch of genius, 
its beauty ; where everything breathed of art, from the hum- 
blest house with its painted and carved front, its visible timber 
framework, its low-browed doorway and projecting storeys, 
to the kingly Louvre itself, which, in those days, boasted a 
colonnade of towers. But here are the most important points 
which struck the eye when it became somewhat accustomed 
to this throng of edifices. 

To begin with, the City. "The island of the City," as Sauval 
observes — who, with all his pompous verbosity, sometimes 
hits upon these happy turns of phrase — " the island of the City 
is shaped like a great ship sunk into the mud and run aground 
lengthwise, about mid-stream of the Seine." As we have 
already shown, in the fifteenth century this ship was moored 
to the two banks of the Seine by five bridges. This likeness 
to a ship had also struck the fancy of the heraldic scribes ; 
for, according to Favyn and Pasquier, it was from this cir- 
cumstance, and not from the siege by the Normans, that is 
derived the ship emblazoned in the arms of Paris. To him 
who can decipher it, heraldry is an algebra, a complete lan- 
guage. The whole history of the later half of the Middle 
Ages is written in heraldry, as is that of the first half in the 
symbolism of the Roman churches — the hieroglyphics of 
feudalism succeeding those of theocracy. 

The City, then, first presented itself to the view, with its 
stern to the east and its prow to the west. Facing towards 
the prow there stretched an endless line of old roofs, above 
which rose, broad and domed, the lead-roofed transept of the 
Sainte-Chapelle, like an elephant with its tower, except that 
here the tower was the boldest, airiest, most elaborate and 
serrated spire that ever showed the sky through its fretted 
cone. Just in front of Notre-Dame three streets opened into 
the Cathedral close — a fine square of old houses. On the 


A Bird's-Eye View of Paris 

south side of this glowered the furrowed, beetling front of the 
Hotel-Dieu, with its roof as if covered with boils and warts. 
Then, on every side, right, left, east, and west, all within the 
narrow circuit of the City, rose the steeples of its twenty-one 
churches, of all dates, shapes, and sizes, from the low, worm- 
eaten Roman belfry of Saint-Denis du Pas (career Glancini) 
to the slender, tapering spires of Saint-Pierre aux Boeufs and 
Saint-Landry. Behind Notre-Dame northward, stretched the 
cloister with its Gothic galleries ; southward, the semi-Roman 
palace of the Bishop, and eastward, an uncultivated piece of 
ground, the terrain, at the point of the island. Furthermore, 
in this sea of houses, the eye could distinguish, by the high, 
perforated mitres of stone which at that period capped even 
its topmost attic windows, the palace presented by the town, 
in the reign of Charles VI, to Juvenal des Ursins; a little 
farther on, the black-barred roofs of the market-shed in the 
Marche Palus ; farther ofif still, the new chancel of Saint-Ger- 
main le Vieux, lengthened in 1458 by taking in a piece of 
the Rue aux Febves, with here and there a glimpse of cause- 
way, crowded with people, some pillory at a corner of the 
street, some fine piece of the pavement of Philip Augustus — 
magnificent flagging, furrowed in the middle for the benefit 
of the horses, and so badly replaced in the middle of the 
sixteenth century by the wretched cobblestones called " pave 
de la Ligtie " ; some solitary court-yard with one of those 
diaphanous wrought-iron stair-case turrets they were so fond 
of in the fifteenth century, one of which is still to be seen 
in the Rue des Bourdonnais. Lastly, to the right of the 
Sainte-Chapelle, westward, the Palais de Justice displayed its 
group of towers by the water's edge. The trees of the royal 
gardens, which occupied the western point of the island, hid 
the ferry-man's islet from view. As for the water, it was 
hardly visible on either side of the City from the towers of 
Notre-Dame : the Seine disappeared under the bridges, and 
the bridges under the houses. 

And when one looked beyond these bridges, on which 
the house-roofs glimmered green — moss-grown before their 
time from the mists of the river — and turned one's gaze to 
the left towards the University, the first building which caught 
the eye was a low, extensive cluster of towers, the Petit- 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

Chatelet, whose yawning gateway swallowed up the end of 
the Petit-Pont. Then, if you ran your eye along the river 
bank from east to west, from the Toumelle to the Tour de 
Nesle, it was one long line of houses with sculptured beams, 
coloured windows, overhanging storeys jutting out over the 
roadway — an interminable zigzag of gabled houses broken 
frequently by the opening of some street, now and then by the 
frontage or corner of some grand mansion with its gardens 
and its court-yards, its wings and outbuildings ; standing 
proudly there in the midst of this crowding, hustling throng 
of houses, like a grand seigneur among a mob of rustics. 
There were five or six of these palaces along the quay, from 
the Logis de Lorraine, which shared with the Bernardines the 
great neighbouring enclosure of the Tournelle, to the Tour 
de Nesle, the chief tower of which formed the boundary of 
Paris, and whose pointed gables were accustomed, for three 
months of the year, to cut with their black triangles the scarlet 
disk of the setting sun. 

Altogether, this side of the Seine was the least mercantile 
of the two : there was more noise and crowding of scholars 
than artisans, and there was . no quay, properly speaking, 
except between the Pont Saint-Michel and the Tour de Nesle. 
The rest of the river bank was either a bare strand, like that 
beyond the Bernardine Monastery, or a row of houses with 
their feet in the water, as between the two bridges. This was 
the domain of the washerwomen ; here they called to one 
another, chattered, laughed, and sang, from morning till night 
along the river side, while they beat the linen vigorously — as 
they do to this day, contributing not a little to the gaiety 
of Paris. 

The University itself appeared as one block forming from 
end to end a compact and homogeneous whole. Seen from 
above, this multitude of closely packed, angular, clinging 
roofs, built, for the most part, on one geometrical principle, 
gave the impression of the crystallization of one substance. 
Here the capricious cleavage of the streets did not cut up 
the mass into such disproportionate slices. The forty-two 
colleges were distributed pretty equally over the whole, and 
were in evidence on all sides. The varied and charming roof- 
lines of these beautiful buildings originated in the same art 


A BirdVEye View of Paris 

which produced the simple roofs they overtopped, being prac- 
tically nothing more than a repetition, in the square or cube, 
of the same geometrical figure. Consequently, they lent 
variety to the whole without confusing it, completed without 
overloading it — for geometry is another form of harmony. 
Several palatial residences lifted their heads sumptuously here 
and there above the picturesque roofs of the left bank : the 
Logis de Nevers, the Logis de Rome, the Logis de Reims, 
which have disappeared ; also the Hotel de Cluny, which 
for the consolation of the artist still exists, but the tower 
of which was so stupidly shortened a few years ago. Near 
the Hotel Cluny stood the Baths of Julian, a fine Roman 
palace with circular arches. There was, besides, a number 
of abbeys, more religious in style, of graver aspect than the 
secular residences, but not inferior either in beauty or in 
extent. The most striking of these were the Bernardines' 
Abbey with its three steeples ; Sainte-Genevieve, the square 
tower of which still exists to make us more deeply regret 
the rest ; the Sorbonne, part college, part monastery, of which 
so admirable a nave still survives ; the beautiful quadrilateral 
Monastery of the Mathurins ; * adjacent to it the Benedictine 
Monastery, within the wall of which they managed to knock 
up a theatre between the issue of the seventh and eighth 
editions of this book ; the Abbey of the Cordeliers, with its 
three enormous gables in a row ; that of the Augustines, the 
tapering spire of which was, after the Tour de Nesle, the 
second pinnacle at this side of Paris, counting from the west. 
The colleges, the connecting link between the cloister and 
the world, held architecturally the mean between the great 
mansions and the abbeys, more severe in their elegance, more 
massive in their sculpture than the palaces, less serious in 
their style of architecture than the religious houses. Unfor- 
tunately, scarcely anything remains of these buildings, in 
which Gothic art held so admirable a balance between the 
sumptuous and the simple. The churches (and they were 
numerous and splendid in the University quarter, illustrating 
every architectural era, from the Roman arches of Saint-Julien 

* An order formed in the twelfth century, specially vowed to the rescu- 
ing of Christians out of slavery. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

to the Gothic arches of Saint-Severin) — the churches dom- 
inated the whole, and as one harmony more in that sea of 
harmpnies they pierced in quick succession the waving, fretted 
outhne of the gabled roofs with their boldly cut spires, their 
steeples, their tapering pinnacles, themselves but a magnificent 
exaggeration of the sharp angles of the roofs. 

The ground of the University quarter was hilly, swelling 
in the southeast to the vast mound of the Montague Sainte- 
Genevieve. It was curious to note, from the heights of Notre- 
Dame, the multitude of narrow an'd tortuous streets (now the 
Quartier Latin), the clusters of houses, spreading helter- 
skelter in every direction down the steep sides of this hill 
to the water-edge, some apparently rushing down, others 
climbing up, and all clinging one to the other. 

The inhabitants thronging the streets looked, from that 
height and at that distance, like a swarm of ants perpetually 
passing and repassing each other, and added greatly to the 
animation of the scene. 

And here and there, in the spaces between the roofs^ the 
steeples, the innumerable projections which so fantastically 
bent and twisted and notched the outermost line of the 
quarter, you caught a glimpse of a moss-grown wall, a thick- 
set round tower, an embattled, fortress-like gateway — the wall 
of Philip Augustus. Beyond this stretched the verdant 
meadows, ran the great high-roads with a few houses strag- 
gling along their sides, growing fewer the farther they were 
removed from the protecting barrier. Some of these suburbs 
were considerable. There was first — taking the Toumelle as 
the point of departure — the market-town of Saint- Victor, with 
its one-arched bridge spanning the Bievre ; its Abbey, where 
the epitaph of King Louis the Fat — epitaphium Ludovici Grossi 
— was to be seen ; and its church with an octagonal spire, 
flanked by four belfry towers of the eleventh century (there 
is a similar one still to be seen at Etampes). Then there 
was Saint-Marceau, which already boasted three churches and 
a convent ; then, leaving on the left the mill of the Gobelins 
with its white wall of enclosure, you came to the Faubourg 
Saint-Jacques with its beautifully carved stone cross at the 
cross-roads ; the Church of Saint- Jacques du Haut-Pas, then 
a charming Gothic structure ; Saint-Magloire, with a beautiful 


A Bird's-Eye View of Paris 

nave of the fourteenth century, which Napoleon turned into 
a hayloft ; and Notre-Dame-des-Champs, which contained 
some Byzantine mosaics. Finally, after leaving in the open 
fields the Chartreux Monastery, a sumptuous edifice con- 
temporary to the Palais de Justice with its garden divided 
ofif into compartments, and the deserted ruins of Vauvert, 
the eye turned westward and fell upon the three Roman spires 
of Saint-Germain-des-Pres, in the rear of which the market- 
town of Saint-Germain, already quite a large parish, formed 
fifteen or twenty streets, the sharp steeple of Saint-Sulpice 
marking one of the corners of the town boundary. Close by 
was the square enclosure of the Foire Saint-Germain, where 
the fairs were held — the present market-place. Then came 
the abbot's pillory, a charming little round tower, capped 
by a cone of lead ; farther on were the tile-fields and the Rue 
du Four, leading to the manorial bakehouse ; then the mill 
on its raised mound: finally, the Lazarette, a small, isolated 
building scarcely discernible in the distance. 

But what especially attracted the eye and held it long 
was the Abbey itself. Undoubtedly this monastery, in high 
repute both as a religious house and as a manor, this abbey- 
palace, wherein the Bishop of Paris esteemed it a privilege 
to pass one night ; with a refectory which the architect had 
endowed with the aspect, the beauty, and the splendid rose- 
window of a cathedral ; its elegant Lady Chapel ; its monu- 
mental dormitories, its spacious gardens, its portcullis, its 
drawbridge, its belt of crenated wall, which seemed to stamp 
its crested outline on the meadow beyond, its court-yards 
where the glint of armour mingled with the shimmer of gold- 
embroidered vestments — the whole grouped and marshalled 
round the three high Roman towers firmly planted on a Gothic 
transept — all this, I say, produced a magnificent effect against 
the horizon. 

When at length, after long contemplating the University, 
you turned towards the right bank — the Town — the scene 
changed its character abruptly. Much larger than the Uni- 
versity quarter, the Town was much less of a united whole. 
The first glance showed it to be divided into several singularly 
distinct areas. First, on the east, in that part of the Town 
Avhich still takes its name from the " marais " — the morass 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

into which Caniulogenes led Caesar — there was a great group 
of palaces extending to the water's edge. Four huge man- 
sions, almost contiguous — the Hotels Jouy, Sens, Barbeau, 
and the Logis de la Reine mirrored in the Seine their slated 
roofs and slender turrets. These four edifices filled the space 
between the Rue des Nonaindieres to the Celestine Abbey, 
the spire of which formed a graceful relief to their line of 
gables and battlements. Some squalid, moss-grown hovels 
overhanging the water in front of these splendid buildings 
were not sufiticient to conceal from view the beautifully orna- 
mented corners of their fagades, their great square stone case- 
ments, their Gothic porticoes surmounted by statues, the bold, 
clear-»cut parapets of their walls, and all those charming archi- 
tectural surprises which give Gothic art the appearance of 
forming her combinations afresh for each new structure. 
Behind these palaces ran in every direction, now cleft, pali- 
saded, and embattled like a citadel, now veiled by great trees 
like a Carthusian monastery, the vast and multiform encircling 
wall of that marvellous Hotel Saint-Pol, where the King of 
France had room to lodge superbly twenty-two princes of 
the rank oi the Dauphin and the Duke of Burgundy with 
their retinues and their servants, not to mention the great 
barons, and the Emperor when he came to visit Paris, and 
the lions, who had a palace for themselves within the royal 
palace. And we must observe here that a prince's lodging 
comprised in those days not less than eleven apartments, from 
the state chamber to the oratory, besides all the galleries, 
the baths, the " sweating-rooms," and other " superfluous 
places " with which each suite of apartments was provided — 
not to mention the gardens specially allotted to each guest 
of the King, nor the kitchens, store-rooms, pantries, and 
general refectories of the household ; the inner court-yards in 
which were situated twenty-two general offices, from the bake- 
house to the royal cellarage; the grounds for every sort and 
description of game — mall, tennis, tilting at the ring, etc. ; 
aviaries, fish-ponds, menageries, stables, cattle-sheds, libraries, 
armouries, and foundries. Such was, at that day, a King's 
palace — a Louvre, an Hotel Saint-Pol — a city within a city. 
From the tower on which we have taken up our stand, 
one obtained of the Hotel Saint-Pol, though half-hidden by 


A Bird's-Eye View of Paris 

the four great mansions we spoke of, a very considerable and 
wonderful view. You could clearly distinguish in it, though 
skilfully welded to the main building by windowed and 
pillared galleries, the three mansions which Charles V had 
absorbed into his palace : the Hotel du Petit-Muce with the 
fretted parapet that gracefully bordered its roof; the Hotel 
of the Abbot of Saint-Maur, having all the appearance of a 
fortress, with its massive tower, its machicolations, loopholes, 
iron bulwarks, and over the great Saxon gate, between the 
two grooves for the drawbridge, the escutcheon of the Abbot; 
the Hotel of the Comte d'Etampes, of which the keep, ruined 
at its summit, was arched and notched like a cock's-comb ; 
here and there, three or four ancient oaks grouped together 
in one great bushy clump ; a glimpse of swans floating on 
clear pools, all flecked with light and shadow ; picturesque 
corners of innumerable court-yards ; the Lion house, with its 
low Gothic arches on short Roman pillars, its iron bars and 
continuous roaring; cutting right through this picture the 
scaly spire of the Ave-Maria Chapel ; on the left, the Mansion 
of the Provost of Paris, flanked J3y four delicately perforated 
turrets ; and, in the centre of it all, the Hotel Saint-Pol itself, 
with its multiplicity of facades, its successive enrichments since 
the time of Charles V, the heterogeneous excrescences with 
which the fancy of the architects had loaded it during two 
centuries, with all the roofs of its chapels, all its gables, its 
galleries, a thousand weather-cocks turning to the four winds 
of heaven, and its two lofty, contiguous towers with conical 
roofs surrounded by battlements at the base, looking like 
peaked hats with the brim turned up. 

Continuing to mount the steps of this amphitheatre of 
palaces, rising tier upon tier in the distance, having crossed 
the deep fissure in the roofs of the Town which marked the 
course of the Rue Saint-Antoine, the eye travelled on to the 
Logis d'Angouleme, a vast structure of several periods, parts 
of which were glaringly new and white, blending with the 
rest about as well as a crimson patch on a blue doublet. 
Nevertheless, the peculiarly sharp and high-pitched roof of 
the modern palace — bristling with sculptured gargoyles, and 
covered with sheets of lead, over which ran sparkling incrusta- 
tions of gilded copper in a thousand fantastic arabesques — 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

this curiously damascened roof rose gracefully out of the 
brown ruins of the ancient edifice, whose massive old towers, 
bulging cask-like with age, sinking into themselves with 
decrepitude, and rent from top to bottom, looked like great 
unbuttoned waistcoats. Behind rose the forest of spires of 
the Palais des Tournelles. No show-place in the world — 
not even Chambord or the Alhambra — could afiford a more 
magical, more ethereal, more enchanting spectacle than this 
grove of spires, bell-towers, chimneys, weather-cocks, spiral 
stair-cases ; of airy lantern towers that seemed to have been 
worked with a chisel ; of pavilions ; of spindle-shaped turrets, 
all diverse in shape, height, and position. It might have been 
a gigantic chess-board in stone. 

That sheaf of enormous black towers to the right of the 
inky Tournelles, pressing one against the other, and bound 
together, as it were, by a circular moat ; that donjon-keep, 
pierced far more numerously with shot-holes than with win- 
dows, its drawbridge always raised, its portcullis always low- 
ered — that is the Bastile. Those objects like black beaks 
projecting from the embrasures of the battlements, and which, 
from a distance, you might take for rain-spouts, are cannon. 
Within their range, at the foot of the formidable pile, is the 
Porte Saint-Antoine, crouching between its two towers. 

Beyond the Tournelles, reaching to the wall of Charles 
V, stretched in rich diversity of lawns and flower-beds a velvet 
carpet of gardens and royal parks, in the heart of which, 
conspicuous by its maze of trees and winding paths, one 
recognised the famous labyrinthine garden presented by Louis 
XI to Coictier. The great physician's observatory rose out 
of the maze like a massive, isolated column with a tiny house 
for its capital. Many a terrible astrological crime was per- 
petrated in that laboratory. This is now the Place Royale. 

As w^e have said, the Palace quarter, of which we have 
endeavoured to convey some idea to the reader, though merely 
pointing out the chief features, filled the angle formed by 
the Seine and the wall of Charles V on the east. The centre" 
of the Town was occupied by a congeries of dwelling-houses. 
For it was here that the three bridges of the City on the 
right bank discharged their streams of passengers ; and bridges 
lead to the building of houses before palaces. This collection 


A Bird's-Eye View of Paris 

of middle-class dwellings, closely packed together like the 
cells of a honeycomb, was, however, by no means devoid 
of beauty. The sea of roofs of a great city has much of the 
grandeur of the ocean about it. To begin with, the streets 
in their crossings and windings cut up the mass into a hun- 
dred charming figures, streaming out from the Halles like 
the rays of a star. The streets of Saint-Denis and Saint- 
Martin, with their innumerable ramifications, went up side 
by side like two great trees intertwining their branches ; while 
such streets as the Rue de la Platerie, Rue de la Verrerie, Rue 
de la Tixeranderie, etc., wound in tortuous lines through the 
whole. Some handsome edifices, too, thrust up their heads 
through the petrified waves of this sea of gables. For 
instance, at the head of the Pont-aux-Changeurs, behind 
which you could see the Seine foaming vmder the mill-wheels 
of the Pont-aux-Meuniers, there was the Chatelet, no longer 
a Roman keep, as under Julian the Apostate, but a feudal 
tower of the thirteenth century, and built of stone so hard 
that three hours' work with the pick did not remove more 
than the size of a man's fist. Then there was the square 
steeple of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie, with its richly sculp- 
tured corners, most worthy of admiration even then, though 
it was not completed in the fifteenth century ; it lacked in 
particular the four monsters which, still perched on the four 
coiiners of its roof, look like sphinxes offering to modern Paris 
the enigma of the old to unriddle. Rault, the sculptor, did 
not put them up till 1526, and received twenty francs for his 
trouble. There was the Maison-aux-Piliers, facing the Place 
de Greve, of which we have already given the reader some 
idea ; there was Saint-Gervais, since spoilt by a doorway 
" in good taste " ; Saint-Mery, of which the primitive pointed 
arches were scarcely more than circular ; Saint- Jean, whose 
magnificent spire was proverbial ; and twenty other edifices 
which disdained not to hide their wonders in that chaos of 
deep, dark, narrow streets. Add to these the carved stone 
crosses, more numerous at the crossways than even the gib- 
bets; the cemetery of the Innocents, of whose enclosing wall 
you caught a glimpse in the distance ; the pillory of the Halles, 
just visible between two chimneys of the Rue de la Cosson- 
nerie ; the gibbet of the Croix du Trahoir at the corner of the 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

ever-busy thoroughfare ; the round stalls of the Corn Market ; 
fragments of the old wall of Philip Augustus, distinguishable 
here and there, buried among the houses ; mouldering, ivy- 
clad towers, ruined gateways, bits of crumbling walls; the 
quay with its myriad booths and gory skinning yards ; the 
Seine, swarming with boats from the Port au Foin or hay 
wharf to the For-I'Eveque, and you will be able to form some 
adequate idea of what the great irregular quadrangle of the 
Town looked like in 1482. 

Besides these two quarters — the one of palaces, the other 
of houses — the Town contributed a third element to the view : 
that of a long belt of abbeys which bordered almost its entire 
circumference from east to west ; and, lying just inside the 
fortified wall which encircled Paris, furnished a second internal 
rampart of cloisters and chapels. Thus, immediately adjoin- 
ing the park of the Tournelles, between the Rue Saint-Antoine 
and the old Rue du Temple, stood the old convent of Sainte- 
Catherine, with its immense grounds, bounded only by the 
city wall. Between the old and the new Rue du Temple was 
the Temple itself, a grim sheaf of lofty towers, standing 
haughty and alone, surrounded by a vast, embattled wall. 
Between the Rue Neuve du Temple and the Rue Saint-Mar- 
tin, in the midst of gardens, stood the Abbey of Saint-Martin, 
a superb fortified church, w^hose girdle of towers and crown 
of steeples were second only to Saint-Germain-des-Pres in 
strength and splendour. 

Between the two streets of Saint-Martin and Saint-Denis 
stretched the convent enclosure of the Trinite, and between 
the Rue Saint-Denis and the Rue Montorgueil that of Filles- 
Dieu. Close by, one caught a glimpse of the mouldering 
roofs and broken wall of the Cour des Miracles, the only pro- 
fane link in that pious chain. 

Lastly, the fourth area, standing out distinctly in the 
conglomeration of roofs on the right bank, and occupying 
the eastern angle formed by the city wall and the river wall, 
was a fresh knot of palaces and mansions clustered round 
the foot of the Louvre. The old Louvre of Philip Augustus, 
that stupendous pile whose enormous middle tower mustered 
round it twenty-three major towers, irrespective Of the smaller 
ones, appeared from the distance as if ancased within the 


A Bird's-Eye View of Paris 

Gothic roof-lines of the Hotel d'Alengon and the Petit-Bour- 
bon. This hydra of towers, this guardian monster of Paris, 
with its twenty-four heads ever erect, the tremendous ridge 
of its roof sheathed in lead or scales of slate and glistemng 
in metallic lustre, furnished an unexpected close to the western 
configuration of the Town. 

This, then, was the town of Paris in the fifteenth century 
— an immense mass — what the Romans called insula — of 
burgher dwelling-houses, flanked on either side by two blocks 
of palaces, terminated the one by the Louvre, the oth'er by 
the Tournelles, bordered on the north by a long chain of 
abbeys and walled gardens all blended and mingling in one 
harmonious whole ; above these thousand buildings with their 
fantastic outline of tiled and slated roofs, the steeples — fretted, 
fluted, honeycombed — of the forty-four churches on the right 
bank; myriads of streets cutting through it; as boundary: on 
one side a circuit of lofty walls with square towers (those of 
the University wall were round) ; on the other, the Seine, 
intersected by bridges and carrying numberless boats. 

Beyond the walls a few suburbs hugged the protection of 
the gates, but they were less numerous and more scattered 
than on the side of the University. In the rear of the Bas- 
tile about twenty squalid cottages huddled round the curious 
stonework of the Croix-Faubin, and the- abutments of the 
Abbey of Saint- Antoine des Champs ; then came Popincourt, 
buried in cornfields ; then La Courtille, a blithe village of 
taverns; the market-town of Saint-Laurent with its church 
steeple appearing in the distance as if one of the pointed 
towers of the Porte Saint-Martin ; the suburb of Saint-Denis 
with the vast enclosure of Saint-Ladre ; outside the Porte- 
Montmartre, the Grange-Bateliere encircled by white walls ; 
behind that again, with its chalky slopes, Montmartre, which 
then had almost as many churches as wind-mills, but has only 
retained the wind-milfe, for the world is now merely concerned 
for bread for the body. Finally, beyond the Louvre, among 
the meadows, stretched the Faubourg Saint-Honore, already 
a considerable suburb, and the verdant pastures of Petite- 
Bretagne and the Marche-aux-Porceaux or pig-market, in the 
middle of which stood the horrible furnace where they seethed 
the false coiners. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

On the top of a hill, rising out of the solitary plain between 
La Courtille and Saint-Laurent, you will have remarked a 
sort of building, presenting the appearance, in the distance, 
of a ruined colonnade with its foundation laid bare. But this 
was neither a Pantheon nor a Temple of Jupiter; it was 

Now, if the enumeration of so many edifices, brief as we 
have done our best to make it, has not shattered in the reader's 
mind the image of old Paris as fast as we have built it up, we 
will recapitulate in a few words. In the centre, the island of 
the City like an immense tortoise, stretching out its tiled 
bridges like scaly paws from under its gray shell of roofs. 
On the left, the dense, bristling, square block of the Uni- 
versity ; on the right, the high semicircle of the Town, show- 
ing many more gardens and isolated edifices than the other 
two. The three areas. City, University, and Town, are veined 
with streets innumerable. Athwart the whole runs the Seine 
— " the fostering Seine," as Peter du Breul calls it — en- 
cumbered with islands, bridges, and boats. All around, a 
vast plain checkered with a thousand forms of cultivation and 
dotted with fair illages ; to the left, Issy, Vanvres, Vaugirarde, 
Montrouge, Gentilly, with its round and its square tower, 
etc. ; to the right, a score of others from Conflans to Ville- 
I'Eveque ; on the horizon, a border of hills ranged in a circle, 
the rim. of the basin, as it were. Finally, far to the east, Vin- 
cennes with its seven square towers ; southward, Bicetre and 
its sharp-pointed turrets ; northward, Saint-Denis with its 
spire ; and in the west, Saint-Cloud and its castle-keep. Such 
was the Paris which the ravens of 1482 looked down upon 
from the heights of Notre-Dame. 

And yet this was the city of which Voltaire said that 
" before the time of Louis XIV it only possessed four hand- 
some examples of architecture " — the dome of the Sorbonne, 
the Val-de-Grace, the modern Louvre, and I forget the 
fourth — the Luxembourg, perhaps. Fortunately, Voltaire 
was none the less the author of Candidc; and none the less 
the man of all others in the long line of humanity who 

* The place of execution, furnished with immense gibbets, the site of 
an ancient Druidical temple. 



A Bird's-Eye View of Paris 

possessed in highest perfection the rire diaboUque — the sar- 
donic smile. It proves, besides, that one may be a briUiant 
genius, and yet know nothing of an art one has not stud- 
ied. Did not Mohere think to greatly honour Raphael and 
Michael Angelo by calling them " the Mignards * of their 
age " ? 

But to return to Paris and the fifteenth century. 

It was in those days not only a beautiful city ; it was a 
homogeneous city, a direct product — architectural and his- 
torical — of the Middle Ages, a chronicle in stone. It was a 
city composed of two architectural strata only — the Roman- 
esque and the Gothic — for the primitive Roman layer had 
long since disappeared excepting in the Baths of Julian, where 
it still pierced through the thick overlying crust of the Middle 
Ages. As for the Celtic stratum, no trace of it was dis- 
coverable even when sinking wells. 

Fifty years later, when the Renaissance came, and with 
that unity of style, so severe and yet so varied, associated its 
dazzling wealth of fantasy and design, its riot of Roman 
arches, Doric columns and Gothic vaults, its delicate and ideal 
sculpture, its own peculiar tastes in arabesques and capitals, 
its architectural paganism contemporary with Luther, Paris 
was perhaps more beautiful still though less harmonious to 
the eye and the strictly artistic sense. But that splendid 
period was of short duration. The Renaissance was not impar- 
tial ; it was not content only to erect, it must also pull down ; 
to be sure, it required space. Gothic Paris was complete but 
for a moment. Scarcely was Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie 
finished when the demolition of the old Louvre began. 

Since then the great city has gone on losing her beauty 
day by day. The Gothic Paris, which was effacing the 
Romanesque, has been effaced in its turn. But what name 
shall be given to the Paris which has replaced it? 

We have the Paris of Catherine de Medicis in the Tuile- 
ries ; the Paris of Henri II in the H6tel-de-Ville, both 
edifices in the grand style ; the Place Royale shows us the 
Paris of Henri IV — brick fronts, stone copings, and slate 

* Pierre Mignard (1610-1695), the well-known French painter, a con- 
temporary of Molifere. 

Notre- Dame de Paris 

roofs — tricolour houses ; the Val-de-Grace is the Paris of 
Louis XIII — low and broad in style, with basket-handle 
arches and something indefinably pot-bellied about its pillars 
and humpbacked about its domes. We see the Paris of 
Louis XIV in the Invalides — stately, rich, gilded, cold ; the 
Paris of Louis XV at Saint-Sulpice — scrolls and love-knots 
and clouds, vermicelli and chicory leaves — all in stone ; the 
Paris of Louis XVI in the Pantheon, a bad copy of Saint 
Peter's at Rome (the building has settled rather crookedly, 
which has not tended to improve its lines) ; the Paris of the 
Republic at the School of Medicine — a spurious hash of 
Greek and Roman, with about as much relation to the Col- 
iseum or the Pantheon as the constitution of the year III has 
to the laws of Minos — a style known in architecture as " the 
Messidor " ; * the Paris of Napoleon in the Place Vendome — 
a sublime idea, a bronze column made of cannons ; the Paris 
of the Restoration at the Bourse — an abnormally white colon- 
nade supporting an abnormally smooth frieze — it is perfectly 
square and cost twenty million francs. 

To each of these characteristic buildings there belongs, 
in virtue of a similarity of style, of form, and of disposition, 
a certain number of houses scattered about the various dis- 
tricts easily recognised and assigned to their respective dates 
by the eye of the connoisseur. To the seeing eye, the spirit 
of a period and the features of a King are traceable even in 
the knocker of a door. 

The Paris of to-day has, therefore, no typical characteristic 
physiognomy. It is a collection of samples of several periods, 
of which the finest have disappeared. The capital is increas- 
ing in houses only, and what houses ! At this rate, there « 
will be a new Paris every fifty years. The historic signifi- 1 
cance, too, of its architecture is lessened day by day. The * 
great edifices are becoming fewer and fewer, are being swal- 
lowed up before our eyes by the flood of houses. Our fathers 
had a Paris of stone ; our sons will have a Paris of stucco. 

As for the modern structures of this new Paris, we would 
much prefer not to dilate upon them. Not that we fail to j 

* From that period of the French Revolution when this bad imitation 
of the antique was much in vogue. 

A Bird's-Eye View of Paris 

g^ve them their due. The Sainte-Genevieve of M. Soufifiot 
is certainly the finest tea-cake that ever was made of stone. 
The palace of the Legion d'Honneur is also a most distin- 
guished piece of confectionery. The dome of the Corn 
Market is a jockey-cap set on the top of a high ladder. The 
towers of Saint-Sulpice are two great clarinets — a shape which 
is as good as any other — and the grinning zigzag of the tele- 
graph agreeably breaks the monotony of their roofs. Saint- 
Roch possesses a door that can only be matched in magnifi- 
cence by that of Saint Thomas Aquinas ; also it owns a Calvary 
in alto-relievo down in a cellar, and a monstrance of gilded 
wood — real marvels these, one must admit. The lantern 
tower in the maze at the Botanical Gardens is also vastly 
ingenious. As regards the Bourse, which is Greek as to its 
colonnade, Roman as to the round arches of its windows 
and doors, and Renaissance as to its broad, low, vaulted roof, 
it is indubitably in purest and most correct style ; in proof 
of which we need only state that it is crowned by an attic 
story such as was never seen in Athens — a beautiful straight 
line, gracefully intersected at intervals by chimney pots. And, 
admitting that it be a rule in architecture that a building 
should be so adapted to its purpose that that purpose should 
at once be discernible in the aspect of the edifice, no praise 
is too high for a structure which might, from its appearance, 
be indiflferently a royal palace, a chamber of deputies, a 
town hall, a college, a riding-school, an academy, a warehouse, 
a court of justice, a museum, a barracks, a mausoleum, a 
temple, or a theatre — and all the time it is an Exchange. 
Again, a building should be appropriate to the climate. This 
one is obviously constructed for our cold and rainy skies. 
It has an almost flat roof, as they obtain in the East, so that 
in winter, when it snows, that roof has to be swept, and, of 
course, we all know that roofs are intended to be swept. 
And as regards the purpose of which we spoke just now, 
the building fulfils it to admiration : it is a Bourse in France 
as it would have been a Temple in Greece. It is true that 
the architect has been at great pains to conceal the face of 
the clock, which would have spoilt the pure lines of the 
fagade ; but in return, we have the colonnade running round 
the entire building, under which, on high-days and holidays, 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

the imposing procession of stock-brokers and exchange- 
agents can display itself in all its glory. 

These now are undoubtedly very superior buildings. Add 
to them a number of such handsome, interesting, and varied 
streets as the Rue de Rivoli, and I do not despair of Paris 
offering one day to the view, if seen from a balloon, that 
wealth of outline, that opulence of detail, that diversity of 
aspect, that indescribable air of grandeur in its simplicity, 
of the unexpected in its beauty, which characterizes — a 

Nevertheless, admirable as the Paris of to-day may seem 
to you, conjure up the Paris of the fifteenth century ; rebuild 
it in imagination ; look through that amazing forest of spires, 
towers, and steeples ; pour through the middle of the immense 
city the Seine, with its broad green and yellow pools that 
make it iridescent as a serpent's skin ; divide it at the island 
points, send it swirhng round the piers of the bridges; project 
sharply against an azure horizon the Gothic profile of old 
Paris ; let its outline float in a wintry mist clinging round 
its numerous chimneys ; plunge it in deepest night, and watch 
the fantastic play of light and shadow in that sombre labyrinth 
of edifices ; cast into it a ray of moonlight, showing it vague 
and uncertain, with its towers rearing their massive heads 
above the mists ; or go back to the night scene, touch up the 
thousand points of the spires and gables with shadow, let it 
stand out more ridged and jagged than a shark's jaw against 
a coppery sunset sky — and then compare. 

And if you would receive from the old city an impression 
the modern one is incapable of giving, go at dawn on some 
great festival — Easter or Whitsuntide — and mount to some 
elevated point, whence the eye commands the entire capi- 
tal, and be present at the awakening of the bells. Watch, at 
a signal from heaven — for it is the sun that gives it — those 
thousand churches starting from their sleep. First come scat- 
tered notes passing from church to church, as when musicians 
signal to one another that the concert is to begin. Then, 
suddenly behold — for there are moments when the ear, too, 
seems to have sight — behold, how, at the same moment, from 
every steeple there rises a column of sound, a cloud of 
harmony. At first the vibration of each bell mounts up 


A Bird's-Eye View of Paris 

straight, pure, isolated from the rest, into the resplendent sky 
of mom ; then, by degrees, as the waves spread out, they 
mingle, blend, unite one with the other, and melt into one 
magnificent concert. Now it is one unbroken stream of 
sonorous sound poured incessantly from the innumerable 
steeples — floating, undulating, leaping, eddying over the city, 
the deafening circle of its vibration extending far beyond 
the horizon. Yet this scene of harmony is no chaos. Wide 
and deep though it be, it never loses its limpid clearness ; 
you can follow the windings of each separate group of notes 
that detaches itself from the peal ; you can catch the dialogue, 
deep and shrill by turns, between the bourdon and the crecelle; 
you hear the octaves leap from steeple to steeple, darting 
winged, airy, strident from the bell of silver, dropping halt 
and broken from the bell of wood. You listen delightedly to 
the rich gamut; incessantly ascending and descending, of the 
seven bells of Saint-Eustache ; clear and rapid notes flash 
across the whole in luminous zigzags, and then vanish like 
lightning. That shrill, cracked voice over there comes from 
the Abbey of Saint-Martin ; here the hoarse and sinister growl 
of the Bastile ; at the other end the boom of the great tower 
of the Louvre. The royal carillon of the Palais scatters its 
glittering trills on every side, and on them, at regular inter- 
vals, falls the heavy clang of the great bell of Notre-Dame, 
striking flashes from them as the hammer from the anvil. 
At intervals, sounds of every shape pass by, coming from 
the triple peal of Saint-Germain-des-Pres. Then, ever and 
anon, the mass of sublime sound opens and gives passage to 
the sfretto of the Ave-Maria chapel, flashing through like 
a shower of meteors. Down below, in the very depths of the 
chorus, you can just catch the chanting inside the churches, 
exhaled faintly through the pores of their vibrating domes. 
Here, in truth, is an opera worth listening to. In general, 
the murmur that rises up from Paris during i^he daytime is 
the city talking ; at night it is the city breathing ; but this is 
the city singing. Lend your ear, then, to this tutti of the 
bells ; diffuse over the ensemble the murmur of half a million 
of human beings, the eternal plaint of the river, the ceaseless 
rushing of the wind, the solemn and distant quartet of the 
four forests set upon the hills, round the horizon, like so many 
H 1^5 Vol. 4 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

enormous organ-cases ; muffle in this, as in a sort of twilight, 
all of the great central peal that might otherwise be too hoarse 
or too shrill, and then say whether you know of anything in 
the w^orld more rich, more blithe, more golden, more daz- 
zling, than this tumult of bells and chimes — this furnace of 
music, these ten thousand brazen voices singing at once in 
flutes of stone, three hundred feet high — this city which Is now 
but one vast orchestra — 4;his symphony with the mighty uproar 
of a tempest. 





Sixteen years before the events here recorded took place, 
early on Quasimodo or Low-Sunday morning, a human crea- 
tureji_acl_been. deposited after Mass on the.- plank bed fastened 
fo the pavement on the left of the entrance to Notre-Danie, 
opposite the " great image " of Saint Christopher, which the 
kneeling stone figure of Messire Antoine des Essarts, knight, 
had contemplated since 1413. Upon this bed it was cus- 
tomary_ to expose foundling children to;: the charity of-the 
public"; any one could take them away who chose. In front 
of the bed was a copper basin for the reception of alms. 

The specii^.en of humanity lying on this plank on the 
morning of Quasimodo-Sunday, in the year of our Lord 1467, 
seemed to invite, in a high degree, the curiosity of the very 
considerable crowd which had collected round it. This crowd 
was largely composed of members of the fair sex; in fact, 
there were hardly any but old women. 

In front of the row of spectators, stooping low over the 
bed, were four of them whom by their gray- cagoules — a kind of 
hooded cassock — one recognised as belonging to some re- 
ligious order. I sec no reason why history should not hand 
down to posterity the names of these discreet and venerable 
dames. They were: Agnes la Herme, Jehanne de la Tarme, 
Henriette la Gaultiere, and Gauchere la Violette — all four 
widows, all four bedes-women of the Chapelle Etienne- 
Haudry, who, with their superior's permission, and conform- 
ably to the rules of Pierre d'Ailly, had come to hear the 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

However, if these good sisters were observing for the 
moment the rules of Pierre" d'Ailly, they were certainly 
violating to their heart's content those of Michel de Brache 
and the Cardinal of Pisa, which so inhumanly imposed silence 
upon them. 

"What can that be, sister?" said Agnes la Gauchere as 
she gazed at the little foundling, screaming and wriggling on 
its wooden pallet, terrified by all these staring eyes. 

" What are we coming to," said Jehanne, " if this is the 
kind of children they bring into the world now ? " 

" I am no great judge of children," resumed Agnes, " but 
it must surely be a sin to look at such a one as this." 

" It's not a child, Agnes." 

" It's a monkey spoiled," observed Gauchere. 

" It's a miracle," said Henriette la Gaultiere. 

" If so," remarked Agnes, " it is the third since Lsetare 
Sunday, for it is not a week since we had the miracle of the 
mocker of pilgrims suffering divine punishment at the hands 
of Our Lady of Aubervilliers, and that was already the second 
within the month." 

" But this so-called foundling is a perfect monster of 
abomination," said Jehanne. 

" He bawls loud enough to deafen a precentor," continued 
Gauchere. " Hold your tongue, you little bellower ! " 

" And to say that the Bishop of Reims sent this mon- 
strosity to the Bishop of Paris ! " exclaimed Gaultiere, clasp- 
ing her hands. 

" I expect," said Agnes la Herme, " that it is really a beast 
of some sort, an animal — the offspring of a Jew and a sow ; 
something, at any rate, that is not Christian, and that ought 
to be committed to the water or the fire." 

" Surely," went on La Gaultiere, " nobody will have any- 
thing to do with it." 

" Oh, mercy ! " cried Agnes, " what if those poor nurses 
at the foundling-house at the bottom of the lane by the river, 
close beside the Lord Bishop's — what if they take this little 
brute to them to be suckled ! I would rather give suck to 
a vampire." 

" What a simpleton she is, that poor La Herme ! " returned 
Jehanne ; '* don't you see, ma scrur, that this little monster 


charitable Souls 

is at least four years old, and that a piece of meat would be 
more to his taste than your breast ? " 

And in truth " the little monster " (for we ourselves would 
be at a loss to describe it by any other name) was not a new- 
born babe. It was a little angular, wriggling lump, tied up 
In a canvas sack marked with the monogram of Messire Guil- 
laume Chartier, the then Bishop of Paris, with only its head 
"sticking out at one end. But what a head! All that was 
visible was a thatch of red hair, an eye, a mouth, and some 
teeth. The eye wept, the mouth roared, and the teeth seemed 
only too ready to bite. The whole creature struggled vio- 
lently in the sack, to the great wonderment of the crowd, 
constantly increasing and collecting afresh. 

The Lady Aloise de Gondelaurier, a wealthy and noble 
dame, with a long veil trailing from the peak of her head-dress, 
and holding by the hand a pretty little girl of about six years 
of age, stopped in passing and looked for a moment at the 
hapless creature, while her charming little daughter, Fleur- 
de-Lys de Gondelaurier, all clad in silks and velvets, traced 
with her pretty finger on the permanent tablet attached to the 
bed the words : " Enfants troiivcs." 

" Good lack ! " said the lady, turning away in disgust. " I 
thought they exposed here nothing but babes." 

And she went on her way, first, however, tossing a silver 
florin into the basin among the coppers, causing the eyes of 
the poor sisters of the Chapelle Etienne-Haudry to open wide 
with astonishment. 

A moment afterward the grave and learned Robert Mistri- 
colle, protonotary to the King, came along, with an enormous 
missal under one arm, and on the other his wife (Dame Guille- 
mette la Mairesse), having thus at his side his two monitors 
— the spiritual and the temporal. 

" Foundling ! " said he, after examining the object. 
" Found evidently on the brink of the river Phlegethon." 

" You can see but one eye," observed Dame Guillemette. 
*' There is a wart over the other." 

" That is no wart," returned Maitre Robert Mistricolle. 
" That is an &gg containing just such another demon, which 
has a similar little tgg with another little devil inside it, 
and so on." 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

"How do you know that?" asked Dame Guillemette. 

" I know it for a fact," replied the protonotary. 

" Monsieur the protonotary," asked Gauchere, " what do 
you predict from this pretended foundUng?" 

"" The greatest calamities," returned Mistricolle. 

" Ah, mon Dim! " cried an old woman among the by- 
standers, " and there was already a considerable pestilence 
last year, and they say that the English are prepared to land 
in great companies at Harfleur." 

" Maybe that will prevent the Queen coming to Paris in 
September," remarked another, " and trade is bad enough 
as it is." 

" It's my opinion," cried Jehanne de la Tarme, " that it 
would be better for the people of Paris if this little wizard 
were lying on a bundle of fagots instead of a bed." 

" And nice blazing fagots too," added the old woman. 

" It would be wiser," said Mistricolle. 

For some moments past a young priest, stern of face, with 
a broad forehead and penetrating eye, had stood listening to 
the argument of the Haudriette sisters, and the pronounce- 
ments of the protonotary. He now silently parted the crowd, 
examined the " little wizard," and stretched a hand over 
him. It was high time, for these pious old women were 
already licking their lips in anticipation of the " fine blazing 
fagots." / ^ II 

" I adopt this child," said the priest. ^ ^^^^^^ (^^cU^ 

He wrapped it in his soutane and carried it off, the by- 
standers looking after him in speechless amazement. The 
next moment he had disappeared through the Porte Rouge, 
which led at that time from the church into the cloister. 

The first shock of surprise over, Jehanne de la Tarme bent 
down and whispered in the ear of La Gaultiere : " Did I not 
say to you, ma soeur, that that young cleric, M. Claude Frollo, 
was a sorcerer ? " 


Claude Frollo 


In truth, Claude Frollo was no ordinary person. 

He belonged to one of those families which it was the 
foolish fashion of th-e last century to describe indifferently 
as the upper middle class or lower aristocracy. 

The family had inherited from the brothers Paclet the 
fief of Tirechappe, which was held of the Bishop of Paris, and 
the twenty-one houses of which had, since the thirteenth 
century, been the object of countless litigations in the Ecclesi- 
astical Court. As owner of this fief, Claude Frollo was one 
of the " seven times twenty-one " seigneurs claiming manorial 
dues in Paris and its suburbs ; and in that capacity his name 
was long to be seen inscribed between the Hotel de Tancar- 
ville, belonging to Maitre Francois le Rez, and the College 
of Tours, in the cartulary deposited at Saint-Martin des 

From his childhood Claude Frollo had been destined by 
his parents for the priesthood. He had been taught to read in 
Latin ; he had early been trained to keep his eyes downcast, 
and to speak in subdued tones. While still quite a child his 
father had bound him to the monastic seclusion of the College 
de Torchi in the University, and there he had grown up over 
the missal and the lexicon. 

He was, however, by nature a melancholy, reserved, seri- 
ous boy, studying with ardour and learning easily. He never 
shouted in the recreation hour ; he mixed but little in the 
bacchanalia of the Rue du Fouarre ; did not know what it was 
to dare alapas et capillos laniare* and had taken no part in 
that Students' riot of 1463, which the chroniclers gravely re- 
cord as " The Sixth Disturbance in the University." It rarely 
happened that h'e jibed at the poor scholars of Montaigu for 
their " cappettes," from which they derived their nickname, 
or the exhibitioners of the College de Dormans for their 
smooth tonsure and their tricoloured surcoats of dark blue, 

* Deal out cuffs on the head and fight. 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

light blue and violet cloth — asurini coloris et hruni, as the 
charter of the Cardinal des Quatre-Couronnes puts it. 

On the other hand, he was assiduous in his attendance 
at the higher and lower schools of the Rue Saint-Jean de 
Beauvais, The first scholar whom the Abbe de Saint-Pierre 
de Val caught sight of, established against a pillar in the Ecole 
Saint-Vendregesile, exactly opposite to his desk when he 
began his lecture on Canon Law, was invariably Claude 
Frollo, armed with his inkhorn, chewing his pen, scribbling 
on his threadbare knees, or, in winter, blowing on his 
fingers. The first pupil Messire Miles d'lsliers, doctor of 
ecclesiastical law, saw arrive breathless every Monday morn- 
ing as the door of the Chef-Saint-Denis schools opened, was 
Claude Frollo. Consequently, by the time he was sixteen, 
the young cleric was a match in mystical theology for ^' 
Father of the Church, and in scholastic theology for_a Doctor 
of the Sorbonne. ^'^ 

Having finished with theology, he threw himself into 
canonical faw and the study of tlie decretals, v^^v^ •s^'^-'.si.x 

FfonT ' the Magister Scntentiarum he had fallen upon 
the Capitularies of Charlemagne, and in his insatiable hun- 
ger for knowledge had devoured decretal after decretal : 
those of Theodore, Bishop of Hispalis, those of Bouchard, 
Bishop of Worms, those of Yves, Bishop of Chartres ; then 
the decretal of Gratian, which came after Charlemagne's 
Capitularies ; then the collection of Gregory IX ; then the 
epistle Super specula of Honorius III. He thoroughly in- 
vestigated and made himself familiar with that vast and stormy 
period of <bitter and protracted struggle between Civil and 
Ecclesiastical Law during the chaos of the Middle Ages, a 
period which Bishop Theodore began in 6i8, and Pope Greg- 
ory closed in 1227. 

The decretals assimilated, he turned his attention to medi- 
cine and the liberal arts ; studied the science of herbs and of 
salves ; became an expert in the treatment of fevers and con- 
tusions, of wounds and of abscesses. Jacques d'Espars would 
have passed him as physician ; Richard Hellain, as surgeon. 
He ran through the degrees of Licentiate, Master, and Doctor 
of Arts ; he studied languages : Latin, Greek, and Hebrew 
— a thrice inner sanctuary of learning seldom penetrated at 


Claude Frollo 

that time. He was possessed by a veritable rage for acquiring 
and storing up knowledge. At eighteen, he had made his 
way through the four faculties. Life for this young man 
seemed to have but one aim and object— knowledge. 
"°~i:t was just about this time that the excessive heat of 
the summer of 1466 caused the outbreak of that great pesti- 
lence which carried ofif more than forty thousand people in 
the jurisdiction of Paris, among others, says Jean de Troyes, 
" Maitre Arnoul, the King's astrologer, a right honest man, 
both wise and merry withal." The rumour spread through 
the University that the Rue Tirechappe had been specially 
devastated by the malady. It was here, in the middle of their 
fief, that Claude's parents dwelt. Much alarmed, the young 
student hastened forthwith to his father's house, only to find 
t(hat both father and mother had died the previous day. An 
infant brother, in swaddling-clothes, was still alive and lay 
wailing and abandoned in the cradle. This was all that re- 
mained to Claude of his family. The young man took the 
child in his arms and went thoughtfully away. Hitherto he 
had lived only injhe world of. Learning ;. now begin 
living in the world of Life, 

This catastrophe was a turning point. in Claude Frollo's 
existence. An orphan, an elder brother, and the head of his 
house^at nineteen, he felt himself rudely recalled from the 
"reveries of the school to the^ realities of the wod^- It was 
then that, moved with pity, he was seized with a passionate 
devotion for this infant brother. How strange and sweet a 
Ihingthis human afifection to him, who had never yet loved 
aught but hooks ! 

This affection waxed strong to a singular degree ; in a 
soul so new to passion, it was like a first love. Separated since 
his childhood from his parents whom he had scarcely known ; 
cloistered and immured, as it were, in his books, eager before 
all things to study, to learn ; attentive hitherto only to his 
intellect which expanded in science, to his imagination which 
grew with his literary studies, the poor scholar had not yet 
had time to feel that he had a heart. This young brother, 
without mother or father, this helpless babe, suddenly fallen 
from the skies into his arms, tnade a new man of him._^_He 
perceived^Jor the first time that there were other things in 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

the world besides the speculations of the Sorbonne and the 
verses of Homer; that Man has need of the affections; that 
life without tenderness and without love is a piece of heartless 
mechanism, insensate, noisy, wearisome. Only, he imagined, 
being as yet at the age when one illusion is replaced merely 
by another illusion, that the affections of blood and kindred 
were the only ones necessary, and the love for a little brother 
was sufficient to fill his whole existence. 

He threw himself, therefore, into the love of his little 
Jehan with all the passion of a character already profound, 
ardent, and concentrated. The thought of this poor, pretty, 
rosy, golden-haired creature, this orphan with another orphan 
for its sole support, moved him to the heart's core, and like 
the earnest thinker that he was, he began to reflect upon 
Jehan with a sense of infinite compassion. He lavished all 
his solicitude upon him as upon something very fragile, very 
specially recommended to his care. He became more than 
a brother to the babe : he became a mother. 

Little Jehan having still been at the breast when he lost 
his mother, Claude put him out at nurse. Besides the fief 
of Tirechappe, he inherited from his father that of Moulin, 
which was held of the square tower of Gentilly. It was a mill 
standing upon rising ground, near the Castle^f .."\yinchestre, 
the present Bicetre. The rniller's wife was suckling a line 
boy at the time ; the mill was not far from the University, 
and Claude carried his little Jehan to her himself. 

Thenceforward, feeling he had a heavy responsibility on 
his shoulders, he took life very seriously. The thought of his 
little brother not only became his recreation from study, but 
the chief object of those studies. He resolved to devote 
himself wholly to the future of that being for whom he was 
answerable before God, and never to have any other spouse, 
any other child than the happiness and welfare of his little 

He bound himself, therefore, still more closely to_his 
clerical vocation. His personal merits, his learning, his posi- 
tion as an immediate vassal of the Bishop of Paris, opened wide 
to him the doors of the Church. At twenty, by special dis- 
pensation from the Holy See,„he was ordained i)riest»..and as 
the youngest of the chaplains of Notre-Dame,. performed the 


Claude Frollo 

service at the altar ca'ilecl, from the late hour at which the 
mass was ccltbr^efl there, altare. pigrorum — the sluggards' 
~" After this, and because he was more than ever immersed 
in his beloved books, which he only left to hasten for an hour 
to the mill, this union of wisdom and austerity, so rare at 
^. (^ his age, had speedily gained him the respect and admiration 
^?X^f the cloister. From the cloister his fame for erudition had 


spread to the people, by whom, as frequently happened in 
those days, it had been converted in some sort into a reputa- 
tion for necromancy. 

It was just as he was returning on Quasimodo-Sunday 
from celebrating mass for the sluggards at their altar — which 
was beside the door in the choir leading into the nave, on 
the right, near the image of the Virgin — that his attention had 
been arrested by the group of old women chattering round 
the foundling. 

He accordingly drew nearer to the poor little creature, 
the object of so much abhorrence and ill-will. The sight of 
its distress, its deformity, its abandonment, the remembrance 
of his young brother, the horror that suddenly assailed him 
at the thought that if he were to die his beloved little Jehan 
rnight thus be miserably exposed upon the selfsame bed — all 
this rushed into his mind at once, and, moved by an impulse 
of profound compassion, he had carried away the child. 

When he took the child out of the sack, he found it was 
indeed ill-favoured. The poor little wretch had a great wart 
over the left eye, its head was sunk between its shoulders, the 
spine arched, the breastbone protruding, the legs bowed. 
Yet he seemed lively enough ; and although it was impossible 
to make out the language of his uncouth stammerings, his 
voice evidenced a fair degree of health and strength. Claude's 
compassion was increased by this ugliness, and he vowed in 
his heart to bring up this child for love of his brother; so 
that, whatever in the future might be the faults of little Jehan, 
this good deed, performed in his stead, might be accounted 
to Tiinifc^ righteousness. It was a sort of investment in 
charity effected in his brotheFs hameja stock of good works 
laid up for him in advance, on which the little rogue might 
fall back if some day he found himself short of that peculiar 


Notre- Dame de Paris 

form of small change — the only kincl accepted at the Gate 
of Heaven. 

He christened his adopted child by the name of Quasi- 
modo, either to commemorate thereby the day on which 
he found him, or to indicate by that name how incomplete 
and indefinite of shape the unfortunate little creature was. 
And, in truth, one-eyed, humpbacked, bow-legged, poor 
Quasimodo could hardly be accounted more than " quasi " 



Now, by 1482, Quasimodo had come to man's estate, and 
had been for several years bell-ringer at Notre-Dame, by the 
grace of his adopted father, Claude Frollo — who had become 
archdeacon of Josas, by the grace of his liege lord, Louis de 
Beaumont — who, on the death of Guillaume Chartier in 1472, 
had become Bishop of Paris, by the grace of his patron, Olivier 
le Daim, barber to Louis XI, King by the grace of God. 

Quasimodo then was bell-ringer of Notre-Dame. 

As time went on a certain indescribable bond of intimacy 
had formed between the bell-ringer and the church. Separated 
forever from the world by the double fatality of his unknown 
birth and his actual deformity, imprisoned since his childhood 
within those two impassable barriers, the unfortunate creature 
had grown accustomed to taking note'o! nothing outside the 
sacred walls which had afforded him a refuge within their 
shade. Notre-Dame had been to him, as he grew up, suc- 
cessively the egg, the nest, his home, his country, the uni- 

Certain it is that there was a sort of mysterious and pre- 
existent harmony between this being and this edifice. When, 
as a quite young child, he would drag himself about with 
many clumsy wrigglings and jerks in the gloom of its arches, 

* The guardian of a terrific beast, himself more terrible. 


Immanis Pecoris Gustos, Immanior Ipse 

he seemed, with his human face and beast-like limbs, the 
fiaitural reptile of that dark and humid stone floor, on which" 
the shadows of the Roman capitals fell in so many fan- 
tastic shapes. "'^~' ~*— — '•-' 

And later, the first time he clutched mechanically at the 
bell-rope in the tower, clung to it and set the bell in motion, 
the effect to Claude, his adopted father, was that of a child 
whose tongue is loosened and begins to talk. 

Thus, as his being unfolded itself gradually under the 
brooding spirit of the Cathedral ; as he lived in it, slept in it, 
rarely went outside its walls, subject every moment to its 
mysterious influence, he came at last to resemble it, to blend 
with it and form an integral part of it. His salient angles 
fitted, so to speak, into the retreating angles of the edifice 
till he seemed not its inhabitant, but its natural tenant. He 
might almost be said to have taken on its shape, as the snail 
does that of its shell. It was his dwelling-place, his strong- 
hold, his husk. There existed between him and the ancient 
church so profound an instinctive sympathy, so many material 
affinities, that, in a way, he adhered to it as a tortoise to his 
shell. The hoary Cathedral was his carapace. 

Needless to say, the reader must not accept literally the 
similes we are forced to employ in order to express this 
singular union — symmetrical, direct, consubstantial almost — 
between a human being and an edifice. Nor is it necessary 
to describe how minutely familiar he had become with every 
part of the Cathedral during so long and so absolute an 
intimacy. This was his own peculiar dwelling-place — no 
depths in it to which Quasimodo had not penetrated, no 
heights which he had not scaled. Many a time had he 
crawled up the sheer face of it with no aid but that afforded 
by the uneven surface of the sculpture. The towers, over 
whose surface he might often be seen creeping like a lizard 
up a perpendicular wall — those two giants, so lofty, so grim, 
so dangerous — had for him no terrors, no threats of vertigo 
or falls from giddy heights ; to see them so gentle between his 
hands, so easy to scale, you would have said that he had 
tamed them. By dint of leaping and climbing, of sportively 
swinging himself across the abysses of the gigantic Cathedral, 
he had become in some sort both monkey and chamois, or 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

like the Calabrian child that swims before it can run, whose 
first play-fellow is the sea. 

Moreover, not only his body seemed to have fashioned 
itself after the Cathedral, but his mind also. In what condi- 
tion was this soul of his? What impressions had it received, 
what form had it adopted behind that close-drawn veil, under 
the influence of that ungentle life, it would be hard to say. 
Quasimodo had been born halt, humpbacked, half-blind. 
With infinite troubled and unwearied patience Claude FroUo 
had succeeded in teaching him to speak. But a fatality 
seemed to pursue the poor foundling. When, at the age of 
fourteen, he became a bell-ringer at Notre-Dame, a fresh 
infirmity descended on him to complete his desolation : the 
bells had broken the drum of his ears and he became stone- 
deaf. The only door Nature had left for him wide open to 
the world was suddenly closed forever. 

And in closing it cut off the sole ray of joy and sunshine 
which still penetrated to the soul of Quasimodo, and plunged 
that soul into deepest night. The melancholy of the unhappy 
creature became chronic and complete like his physical de- 
formity. Besides, his deafness rendered him in some sort 
dumb ; for, to escape being laughed at, from the moment he 
found he could not hear, he firmly imposed upon himself 
a silence which he rarely broke except when he was alone. 
Of his own free-will, he tied that tongue which Claude Frollo 
had been at such pains to loosen. And hence it was that 
when necessity constrained him to speak, his tongue moved 
stiffly and awkwardly like a door on rusty hinges. 

Were we to endeavour to pierce through that thick, hard 
rind and penetrate to Quasimodo's soul ; could we sound the 
depths of that misshapen organization ; were it given to us 
to flash a torch into that rayless gloom, to explore the dark- 
some interior of that opaque structure, illumine its dim wind- 
ings, its fantastic culs-de-sac, and suddenly throw a bright 
light on the Psyche chained in the innermost recesses of that 
cavern, we should doubtless find the hapless creature with- 
ered, stunted like those prisoners who grew old in the 
dungeons of Venice, bent double within the narrow limits 
of a stone chest too low and too short to permit of their 
stretching themselves. 


Immanis Pecoris Gustos, Immanior Ipse 

It is certain that the spirit wastes in a misshapen body. 
Quasimodo scarcely felt within him the feeble stirrings of a 
soul made after his own image. His impression of objects 
suffered a considerable refraction before they reached his 
inner consciousness. His mind was a peculiar medium ; the 
ideas ' that passed through it issued forth distorted. The 
'reflectiori born of that refraction was necessarily divergent 
and crooked. 

Hence his thousand optical illusions, hence the thousand 
aberrations of his judgment, the thousand vagaries of his 
^thoughts, sometimes mad, sometimes idiotic. 

The. first effect of this fatal organization was to blur his 
view of things. He scarcely ever received a direct impres- 
sion" of them ; the external world seemed to him much farther 
ofif than it does from us. ^o-''^^ 

The second efifect of his misfortune was to render him 
malevolent. He was malevolent really because he was unciv- 4 
ilized, and he was uncivilized because he was ill-favoured. 
There was method in his nature as well as in ours. 

Also his physical strength^ which was extraordinarily 
developed, was another cause of his malevolence — "Mains pner 
robicstus," * says Hobbes. 

However, to do him justice, this malevolence was probably , 
not inborn in him. From his very first experience among^,, 
men, he had felt, and later he had seen, himself reviled, 
scorned, spat upon. For him human speech had ever been 
either a jibe or a curse. As he grew up, he had met nothing 
but disgust and ill-will on every side. What wonder that he 
should have caught the disease, have contracted the prevail- 
ing malice. He armed himself with the weapons that had 
wounded him. 

But, after all, he turned his face unwillingly towards man- 
kind." His Cathedral was sufficient for him. Was it not 
pe'bpted with kings, saints, and bishops of marble who never 
mocked at him, but ever gazed at him with calm and benevo- 
lent eyes ? And the other stone figures — the demons and mon- 
sters — they showed no hatred of Quasimodo — he looked too 
much akin to them for that. Rather they scofifed at other 

* The strong youth is wicked, 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

men. The saints were his friends and blessed him, the mon- 
sters were his friends and protected him. So he would com- 
mune long and earnestly with them, passing whole hours 
crouched in front of a statue, holding solitary converse with 
it. If any one happened upon him, he would fly like a lover 
surprised in a serenade. 

And the Cathedral not only represented society ; it vvas his 
world, it was all Nature to him. He dreamed of no other 
gardens but the stained windows ever in flower, no shade but 
that cast by the stone foliage spreading full of birds from the 
tufted capitals of the Roman pillars, no mountains but>,the 
colossal towers of the Cathedral, no ocean but Paris roaring 
round their base. 

But what he loved best of all in that material edifice, that 
which awakened his soul and set the poor wings fluttering 
that lay so sadly folded when in that dreary dungeon, what 
brought him nearest to happiness, was the bells. He loved 
them, fondled them, talked to them, understood them. From 
the carillon in the transept steeple to the great bell over the 
central doorway, they all shared in his afifection. The transept 
belfry and the two towers were to him three great cages, the 
birds in which, taught by him, w^ould sing for him alone. Yet 
it was these same bells which had made him deaf ; but mothers 
are often fondest of the child who has made them suffer most. 

True, theirs were the only voices he could still hear. For 
this reason the great bell was his best beloved. She was 
his chosen one among that family of boisterous sisters who 
gambolled round him in high-days and holidays. This great 
bell was called Marie. She was alone in the southern tower 
with her sister Jacqueline, a bell of smaller calibre, hanging 
in a cage beside hers. This Jacqueline had been christened 
after the wife of Jean Montagu, who had given it to the 
church — a donation which had not prevented him from figur- 
ing at Montfaucon without his head. In the northern tower 
were six other bells, and six smaller ones shared the transept 
belfry with the wooden bell, which was only rung from the 
afternoon of Maundy Thursday till the morning of Easter 
eve. Quasimodo had thus fifteen bells in his seraglio, but 
big Marie was the favourite. What words shall describe his 
delight on the days when the full peal was rung ? The moment 


Immanis Pecoris Gustos, Immanior Ipse 

the Archdeacon gave the word, he was up the spiral stair-case 
of the steeple quicker than any one else would have come 
down. He entered breathless into the aerial chamber of the 
great bell, gazed at her for a moment with doting fondness, 
then spoke softly "to her and patted her as you would a good 
steed before starting on a long journey; sympathizing with 
her in the heavy task that lay before her. These preliminary 
caresses over, he called out to his assistants, waiting ready in 
the lower floor of the tower, to begin. These hung them- 
selves tt) the ropes, the windlass creaked, and the huge metal 
dome set itself slowly in motion. Quasimodo, quivering with 
excitement, followed it with his eye. The first stroke of the 
clapper against its brazen wall shook the wood-work on which 
he was standing. Quasimodo vibrated with the bell. 
" Vah ! " he shouted with a burst of insane laughter. Mean- 
while the motion of the bell quickened, and in the same 
measure as it took a wider sweep, so the eye of Quasimodo 
opened more and more and blazed with a phosphorescent 

At length the full peal began; the whole lower wood-work 
and blocks of stone trembled and groaned together from the 
piles of the foundation to the trefoils on its summit. Quasi- 
modo, foaming at the mouth, ran to and fro, quivering with 
the tower from head to foot. The bell, now in full and 
furious swing, presented alternately to each wall of the tower 
its brazen maw, from which poured forth that tempestuous 
breath which could be heard four leagues distant. Quasi- 
rtjodo placed^ himseli in front of this gaping throat, crouched 
down and rose again at each return of the bell, inhaled its 
furious breath, gazed in turn at the teeming square two hun- 
dredfeet below and at the enormous brazen tongue which 
came .at^measured intervals to bellow in his ear. It was the, 
only speech he understood, the only sound that broke for 
him the imiversal silence. He revelled in it like a bird in 
the sunshine. 

Then, at a certain point, the frenzy of the bell would catch 
him ; his expression grew strange and weird ; waiting for the 
Cell on its passage as a spider watches for the fly, he would 
fling himself headlong upon it. Then, suspended over the 
abyss, borne to and fro by the tremendous rush of the bell, 



Notre-Dame de Paris 

he seized the brazen monster by its ears, pressed it between 
his two knees, dug his heels into it, and increased by the 
shock and the whole weight of his body the fury of the peal, 
till the tower rocked again. Meanwhile Quasimodo, shouting 
~* and gnashing his teeth, his red hair bristling, his chest heav- 
ing like a blacksmith's bellows, his eye darting flames, his 
monstrous steed neighing and panting under him — it^was no 
longer the great bell of Notre-Dame or Quasimodo, it was 
a nightmare, a whirlwind, a tempest ; Vertigo astride of 
Clamour ; a spirit clinging to a flying saddle ; a strange cen- 
taur, half man, half bell ; a sort of horrible Astolpho carried 
off by a prodigious living hippogrifif of bronze. 

The presence of this extraordinary being sent, as it were, 
a breath of life pulsing through the whole Cathedral. There 
seemed to emanate from him — at least so said the exaggerat- 
ing populace — a mysterious influence which animated the 
stones of Notre-Dame and made the ancient church thrill to 
her deepest depths. To know that he was there was enough 
to make them believe they saw life and animation in the 
thousand statues of the galleries and portals. The old Cathe- 
dral did indeed seem docile and obedient to his hand ; she 
awaited his command to lift up her sonorous voice ; she was 
possessed and filled with Quasimodo as with a familiar spirit. 
You would have said that he made the immense building 
breathe. He was everywhere in it ; he multiplied himself at 
every point of the structure. Now the terrified behold^er 
would descry, on the topmost pinnacle of a tower, a fantastic, 
dwarfish figure climbing, twisting, crawling on all-fours, 
hanging over the abyss, leaping from projection to projection 
to thrust his arm down the throat of some sculptured gorgon:' 
it was Quasimodo crow's-nesting. Again, in some dim corner 
of the church one would stumble against a sort of living 
chimera crouching low, with sullen, furrowed brow: it was 
Quasimodo musing. Or again, in a steeple you caught sight 
of an enormous head and a bundle of confused limbs swinging 
furiously at the end of a rope : it was Quasimodo ringing for 
vespers or angelus. Often at night a hideous form might be 
seen wandering along the delicate and lace-like parapet that 
crowns the towers and borders the roof of the chancel • again 
the hunchback of Notre-Dame. At such times, said the 


The Dog and His Master 

gossips, the whole church assumed a horrible, weird, and 
slipernatural air; eyes and mouths opened here and there; 
the stone dogs, the dragons, all the monsters that keep watch 
and ward, day and night, with necks distended and open 
mouths, round the huge Cathedral, were heard barking and 
hissing. And if it happened to be a Christmas-night when 
the great bell seemed to rattle in its throat as it called the 
faithful to the midnight mass, there was such an indescribable 
air of life spread over the sombre fagade that the great door- 
way looked as if it were swallowing the entire crowd, and 
the rose-window staring at them. And all this proceeded 
from Quasimodo. Egypt would have declared him the god 
of this temple ; the Middle Ages took him for its demon : 
he was its soul. 

So much so, that to any one who knows that Quasimodo 
really lived, Notre-Dame now appears deserted, inanimate, 
dead. One feels that something has gone out of it. This 
immense body is empty — a skeleton ; the spirit has quitted 
it; one sees the place of its habitation, but that is all. It 
is like a skull — the holes are there for the eyes, but they 
are sightless. 



There was, however, one human being whom Quasimodo 
excepted from the malice and hatred he felt for the rest of 
mankind, and whom he loved as much, if not more, than 
his Cathedral : and that was Claude Frollo. 

The case was simple enough. Claude Frollo had rescued 
him, had adopted him, fed him, brought him up. When he 
was little, it was between Claude FroUo's knees that he sought 
refuge from the children and the dogs that ran yelping after 
him. Claude Frollo had taught him to speak, to read, to 
write. Finally, it was Claude Frollo who made him bell- 
ringer of Notre-Dame ; and to give the great bell in marriage 
to Quasimodo was giving Juliet to Romeo. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

And in return, Quasimodo's gratitude was deep, passion- 
ate, and boundless ; and althougli the countenance of his 
adopted father was often clouded and severe, although his 
speech was habitually brief, harsh, imperious, never for one 
single moment did that gratitude falter. In Quasimodo 
the Archdeacon possessed the most submissive of slaves, the 
most obedient of servants, the most vigilant of watch-dogs. 
When the poor bell-ringer became deaf, between him and 
Claude Frollo there had been established a mysterious lan- 
guage of signs, intelligible to them alone. In this way, then, 
the Archdeacon was the sole human being with whom Quasi- 
modo had preserved a communication. There were but two 
things in this world with which he had any connection : 
Claude Frollo and the Cathedral. 

The empire of the Archdeacon over the bell-ringer^ and 
the bell-ringer's attachment to the Archdeacon, were absolutely 
unprecedented. A sign from Claude, or the idea that it would 
give him a moment's pleasure, and Quasimodo would have 
cheerfully cast himself from the top of Notre-Dame. There 
was something remarkable in all that physical force, so 
extraordinarily developed in Quasimodo, being placed by him 
blindly at the disposal of another. In it there was doubtless 
much of filial devotion, of the attachment of the servant ; but 
there was also the fascination exercised by one mind over 
another; it was a poor, feeble, awkward organism standing 
with bent head and supplicating eyes in the presence of a 
lofty, penetrating, and commanding intellect. Finally, and 
before all things, it was gratitude — gratitude pushed to such 
extreme limits that we should be at a loss for a comparison. 
That virtue is not one of those of which the brightest examples 
are to be found in man. Let us then say that Quasimodo 
loved the Archdeacon as never dog, never horse, never ele- 
phant loved his master. 


Further Particulars of Claude FroUo 



In 1482 Quasimodo was about twenty, Claude Frollo 
about thirty-six. The one had grown up, the other had 
grown old. 

Claude Frollo was no longer the simple-minded scholar 
of the Torchi College, the tender guardian of a little child, 
the young and dreamy philosopher, who knew many things, 
but was ignorant of more. He^as_a_pnest— austere, grave, 
morose — having a cure of souls ; Monsieur the Archdeacon of 
Josas ; second acolyte to the Bishop; having the charge of the 
two deaneries of Montlhery and Chateaufort, and of a hundred 
and seventy-four rural clergy. He was an imposing and 
sombre personage, before whom the chorister boys in alb 
-and tunic, the brethren of Saint- Augustine, and the clerics 
oil early Tnorning duty at Notre-Dame, quailed and trembled, 
when he passed slowly under the high Gothic arches of the 
choir — stately, deep in thought, with folded arms, and his head 
bent so low upon his breast that nothing was visible of his 
face but his high bald forehead. 

Dom * Claude Frollo, however, had abandoned neither 
science nor the education of his young brother — the two 
occupations of- his life. But in the. course of time some bit- 
terness had mingled with these things he once had thought 
so sweet. With time, says Paul Diacre, even the best bacon 
turns rancid. Little Jehan Frollo, surnamed "of the Mill " from 
the place where he had been nursed, had not grown in the 
direction in which Claude would have wished to train him. 
The elder brother had counted on a pious pupil, docile, studi- 
ous, and honourable. But the younger brother, like those 
young trees which baffle the efforts of the gardener, and turn 
obstinately towards that side from which they derive most 
air and sunshine — the younger brother increased and waxed 
great, and sent forth full and luxuriant branches only on the 

* Title attaching to a certain class of the priesthood, equivalent to 
"The Reverend." 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

side of idleness, ignorance, and loose living. He was an 
unruly little devil, which made Dom Claude knit his Throws, 
but also very droll and very cunning, at which the elder was 
fain to smile. Claude had consigned him to that same Col- 
lege de Torchi in which he himself had passed his earliest 
years in study and seclusion; and it grieved him sorely that 
this retreat, once edified by the name of FroUo, should be 
so scandalized by it now. He would sometimes read Jehan 
long and stern lectures on the subject, under which the latter 
bore up courageously — after all, the young rascal's heart v/as 
in the right place, as all the comedies declare ; but the sermon 
over, he calmly resumed the evfl tenor of his ways. Some- 
times it was a hejanne, or yellow-beak, as they called the new- 
comers at the University — whom he had thoroughly badgered 
as a welcome — a valuable custom which has been carefully 
handed down to our day ; now he had been the moving spirit 
of a band of scholars who had thrown themselves in classical 
fashion on a tavern, quasi classico excitati, then beaten the 
tavern-keeper '' with cudgels of offensive character," and 
joyously pillaged the tavern, even to staving in the hogsheads 
of wine. And the result was a fine report drawn up in Latin, 
brought by the sub-monitor of the Torchi College to Dom 
Claude, with piteous mien, the which bore the melancholy 
marginal remark, Rixa; prima causa vinum optimum potatum* 
Finally, it was said — horrible in a lad of sixteen — that his 
backslidings frequently extended to the Rue de Glatigny.f 

In consequence of all this, Claude — saddened, his faith 
in human afifection shaken — threw himself with frenzied ardour 
into the arms of science, that sister who at least never laughs 
at you in derision, and who always repays you, albeit at times 
in somewhat light coin, for the care you have lavished on 
her. He became, therefore, more and more erudite, and, as 
a natural consequence, more and more rigid as a priest, less 
and less cheerful as a man. In each of us there are certain 
parallels between our mind, our manners, and our characters 
Vvhich develop in unbroken continuity, and are only shaken 
by the great cataclysms of life. 

* A brawl, the immediate result of too liberal potations, 
f A. street of ill-fame. 

Further Particulars of Claude Frollo 

Claude Frollo, having in his youth gone over the entire cir- 
cle of human knowledge, positive, external, and lawful, was 
under the absolute necessity, unless he was to stop ubi defuif 
dybis,"^ of going farther afield in search of food for the insatia- 
ble appetite of his mind. The ancient symbol of the serpent 
biting its tail is especially appropriate to learning, as Claude 
Frollo had evidently proved. Many trustworthy persons as- 
serted that, after having exhausted the fas of human knowl- 
edge, he had had the temerity to penetrate into the nefas, 
had tasted in succession all the apples of the Tree of Knowl- 
edge, and, whether from hunger or disgust, had finished by 
eating of the "forbidden fruit. He had taken his seat by turns, 
as the reader has seen, at the conferences of the theologians 
at the Sorbonne, at the disputations of the decretalists near 
the image of Saint-Martin, at the meetings of the Faculty 
of Arts near the image of Saint-Hilary, at the confabulations 
of the physicians near the bcniticr of Notre-Dame, ad cupam 
Nostrcc-Domincc ; all the viands, permitted and approved, 
which those four great kitchens, called the four Faculties, 
could prepare and set before the intelligence, he had devoured, 
and satiety had come upon him before his hunger was ap- 
peased. Then he had penetrated farther afield, had dug 
deeper, underneath all that finite, material, limited knowl- 
edge ; he had risked his soul, and had seated himself at that 
mystic table of the Alchemists, the Astrologers, the Hermetics 
of which Averroes, Guillaume de Paris, and Nicolas Flamel 
occupy one end in the Middle Ages, and which reaches back 
in the East, under the rays of the seven-branched candlestick, 
to Solomon, Pythagoras, and Zoroaster. 

So, at least, it was supposed, whether rightly or not. 

It is certainly true that the Archdeacon frequently visited 
the cemetery of the Holy Innocents, where, to be sure, his 
mother and father lay buried with the other victims of the 
plague of 1466 ; but he seemed much less devoutly interested 
in the cross on their grave than in the strange figures covering 
the tombs of Nicolas Flamel and Claude Pernelle close by. 

It is certainly true that he had often been seen stealing 
down the Rue des Lombards and slipping furtively into a 

* Where the world comes to an end. 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

little house which formed the comer of the Rue des Ecrivains 
and the Rue Marivault. This was the house which Nicolas 
Flamel had built, in which he died about 1417, and which, 
uninhabited ever since, was beginning to fall into decay, so 
much had the Hermetics and Alchemists from all the ends of 
the world worn away its walls by merely engraving their 
names upon them. Some of the neighbours even declared 
how, through a hole in the wall, they had seen the Arch- 
deacon digging and turning over the earth in those two 
cellars, of which the door-jambs had been scrawled over with 
innumerable verses and hieroglyphics by Nicolas Flamel 
himself. It was supposed that Flamel had buried here the 
philosopher's stone ; and for two centuries the Alchemists, 
from Magistri to Pere Pacifique, never ceased to burrow in 
that ground, till at last the house, so cruelly ransacked and 
undermined, crumbled into dust under their feet. 

Again, it is true that the Archdeacon was seized with a 
remarkable passion for the symbolical portal of Notre-Dame, 
that page of incantation written in stone by Bishop Guillaume 
of Paris, who is without doubt among the damned for having 
attached so infernal a frontispiece to the sacred poem eternally 
chanted by the rest of the edifice. The Archdeacon Claude 
was also credited with having solved the mystery of the 
colossal Saint-Christopher, and of that tall, enigmatical statue 
which stood then at the entrance of the Parvis of the Cathe- 
dral, and derisively styled by the people Monsieur le Oris — 
old curmudgeon. But what nobody could fail to observe, 
were the interminable hours he would sometimes spend, 
seated on the parapet of the Parvis, lost in contemplation of 
the statues ; now looking fixedly at the Foolish Virgins with 
their overturned lamps, now at the Wise Virgins with their 
lamps upright ; at other times calculating the angle of vision 
of that raven perched on the left side of the central door and 
peering at a mysterious point inside the church, where most 
certainly the philosopher's stone is hidden, if it is not in 
Nicolas Flamel's cellar. 

It was a singular destiny, we may remark in passing, for 
the Cathedral of Notre-Dame to be thus beloved in different 
degrees and with so much devotion by two creatures so utterly 
dissimilar as Claude Frollo and Quasimodo ; loved by the one 


Further Particulars of Claude Frollo 

—rudimentary, instinctive, savage — for its beauty, its lofty 
stature, the' Harmonies that flowed from its magnificent 
ensemble; loved by the other — a being of cultured and per- 
fervid imagination — for its significance, its mystical meaning, 
tlTe"'^ymboHc language lurking under the sculptures of its 
facade, like the first manuscript under the second in a palimp- 
sest — in a word, for the enigma it eternally propounded to 
the inteHigence. 

Furthermore, it is certain that in one of the towers which 
overlooks the Greve, close by the cage of the bells, the Arch- 
deacon had fitted up for himself a little cell of great secrecy, 
into which no one ever entered— not even the Bishop, without 
his leave. This cell had been constructed long ago, almost 
at the summit of the tower among the crows' nests, by Bishop 
Hugh of Besangon,* who had played the necromancer there 
in his time. What this cell contained nobody knew; but on 
many a night from the shore of the terrain, from which 
a little round window at the back of the tower was visible, 
an unaccountable, intermittent red glow might be seen, com- 
ing and going at regular intervals, as if in response to the 
blowing of a pair of bellows, and as if it proceeded rather 
from a flame than a light. In the darkness, and at that height, 
the effect was very singular, and the old wives would say, 
" There's the Archdeacon blowing his bellows again ! Hell- 
fire is blazing up there 1 " 

After all, these were no great proofs of sorcery; but still 
there was sufficient smoke to warrant the supposition of flame, 
and the Archdeacon therefore stood in decidedly bad odour. 
And yet we are bound to say that the occult sciences, that 
necromancy, magic — even of the whitest and most innocent — 
had no more virulent foe, no more merciless denouncer before 
the Holy Office of Notre-Dame than himself. Whether this 
abhorrence was sincere, or merely the trick of the pickpocket 
who cries " Stop thief ! " it did not prevent the learned heads 
of the Chapter regarding him as a soul adventuring into the 
very fore-court of hell, lost among the holes and underground 
workings of the Cabala, groping in the baleful gloom of 
occult science. The people, of course, were not to be hood- 

* Hugo II de Bisuncio, 1326-1332. — ^Author's note. 
^ 159 Vol. 4 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

winked for a moment — any one with a grain of sense could 
see that Quasimodo was a demon, and Claude Froilp ^ a 
sorcerer; and it was patent that the bell-ringer was bound to 
the Archdeacon for a certain time, after which he would carry 
off his master's soul in guise of payment. Consequently, in 
spite of the excessive austerity of his life, the Archdeacon 
was in bad repute with all pious people, and there was no 
devout nose, however inexperienced, that did not smell out 
the wizard in him. 

Yet, if with advancing years deep fissures had opened in 
his mind, in his heart they were no less deep. So, at least, 
they had reason to think who narrowly scanned that face in 
which the soul shone forth as through a murky cloud. 
Else why that bald and furrowed brow, that constantly bowed 
head, those sighs that forever rent his breast? What secret 
thought sent that bitter smile to his lips at the selfsame 
moment that his frowning brows approached each other like 
two bulls about to fight? Why were his remaining hairs 
already gray? Whence came that inward fire that blazed at 
times in his eyes, till they looked like holes pierced in the 
wall of a furnace? 

These symptoms of violent moral preoccupation had de- 
veloped to an extraordinary degree of intensity at the period 
of our narrative. More than once had a chorister boy fled 
in terror when coming upon him suddenly in the Cathedral, 
so strange and piercing was his gaze. More than once, at 
the hour of service, had the occupant of the next stall in the 
choir heard him interspersing the plain song, #d omnem tonuni, 
with unintelligible parentheses. More than once had the 
laundress of the ferroiu, whose duty it was to " wash the 
Chapter," noticed with alarm the marks of finger-nails and 
clinched hands in the surplice of Monsieur the Archdeacon 
of Josas. 

However, he grew doubly austere, and his life had never 
been more exemplary. By inclination, as well as by calling, he 
had always kept severely aloof from women ; now he seemed 
to hate them more virulently than ever. The mere rustle of a 
silken kirtle was sufficient to make him bring his cowl down 
over his eyes. So jealous were his reserve and his austerity 
on this point, that when the King's daughter, the Lady of 

1 60 


Beaujeii, came in December, 1481, to visit the cloister of 
Notre-Dame, he earnestly opposed her admittance, reminding 
the Bishop of the statute in the Black Book, dated Saint- 
Bartholomew's Eve, 1334, forbidding access to the cloister 
to every woman whatsoever, " young or old, mistress or 
serving-maid." Upon which the Bishop had been constrained 
to quote the ordinance of the legate Odo, which makes excep- 
tion in favour of " certain ladies of high degree, who might 
not be turned away without offence " — " aliqucE magnates 
mulieres, quce sine scandale vitari non possimt." But the Arch- 
deacon persisted in his protest, objecting that the legate's 
ordinance, dating from as far back as 1207, was anterior to 
the Black Book by a hundred and twenty-seven years, and 
thus practically abrogated by it, and he refused to appear 
before the princess. 

It was, moreover, noticed that, for some time past, his 
horror of gipsy-women and all Zingari in general had re- 
markably increased. He had solicited from the Bishop an 
edict expressly forbidding gipsies to dance or play the tam- 
bourine within the Parvis of the Cathedral ; and simultane- 
ously he was rummaging among the musty archives of the 
Holy Office, in order to collect all the cases of necromancers 
and sorcerers condemned to the flames or the halter for com- 
plicity in witchcraft with sows, he, or she-goats. 



The Archdeacon and the bell-ringer found, as we have 
said before, but little favour with the people, great or small, 
in the purlieus of the Cathedral. If Claude and Quasimodo 
went abroad, as occasionally happened, and they were seen 
in company — the servant following his master — traversing the 
chilly, narrow, and gloomy streets in the vicinity of Notre- 
Dame, many an abusive word, many a mocking laugh or 
opprobrious gibe would harass them on their passage unless 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

Claude Frollo — though this was rare — walked with head erect 
and haughty bearing, offering a stern and well-nigh imperial 
front to the startled gaze of his assailants. 

The couple shared in the neighbourhood the fate of those 
poets of whom Regnier says : 

" Toutes sorles de gens vont apres les poetes, 
Comme apres les hiboux vont criant les fauvettes." * 

Now some ill-conditioned monkey would risk his skin and 
bones for the ineffable pleasure of sticking a pin in Quasi- 
modo's hump, or some pretty wench, with more freedom and 
impudence than was seemly, would brush the priest's black 
robe, thrusting her face into his, while she sang the naughty 
song beginning: 

" Niche, niche, le diable est pris ! " f 

Anon, a group of squalid old women, crouching in the 
shade on the steps of a porch, would abuse the Archdeacon 
and the bell-ringer roundly as they passed, or hurl after them 
with curses the flattering remark : " There goes one whose 
soul is like the other one's body ! " Or, another"" time, it 
would be a band of scholars playing at marbles or hop- 
scotch who would rise in a body and salute them in classical 
manner, with some Latin greeting such as " Eia! Eia! 
Claudius cum claudo!" X 

But, as a rule, these amenities passed unheeded by either 
the priest or the bell-ringer. Quasimodo was too deaf, and 
Claude too immersed in thought to hear them. 

* All sorts of people run after the poets, 

As after the owls fly screaming the linnets. 
f Hide, hide, the devil is caught! 
I Ho ! ho ! Claude with the cripple ! 




The fame of Dom Claude Frollo had spread abroad. To 
it, just about the time of his refusal to encounter the Lady 
of Beaujeu, he owed a visit which remained long in his 

It happened one evening. Claude had just retired after 
the evening office to his canonical cell in the cloister of Notre- 
Dame. Beyond a few glass phials pushed away into a corner 
and containing some powder which looked suspiciously like 
an explosive, the cell had nothing noteworthy or mysterious 
about it. Here and there were some inscriptions on the 
walls, but they consisted purely of learned axioms or pious 
extracts from worthy authors. The Archdeacon had just 
seated himself at a huge oak chest covered with manuscripts, 
and lighted by a three-armed brass lamp. He leaned his 
elbow on an open tome : Honorius of Autun's De prcBdestina- 
iione et libera arbitrio* while he musingly turned over the 
leaves of a printed folio he had just brought over, the sole 
production of the printing-press which stood in his cell. His 
reverie was broken by a knock at the door. 

"Who's there?" called the scholar in the friendly tone 
of a famished dog disturbed over a bone. 

" A friend — Jacques Coictier," answered a voice outside. 

He rose and opened the door. 

It was, in fact, the King's physician, a man of some 
fifty years, the hardness of whose expression was somewhat 

* 0/ Predestination and Free- Will, 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

mitigated by a look of great cunning. He was accompanied 
by another man. Both wore long, slate-gray, squirrel-lined 
robes, fastened from top to bottom and belted round the 
middle, and caps of the same stuff and colour. Their hands 
disappeared in their sleeves, their feet under their robes, and 
their eyes under their caps. 

" God save me, messire ! " said the Archdeacon, as he 
admitted them ; " I was far from expecting so flattering a 
visit at this late hour." And while he spoke thus courte- 
ously, he glanced suspiciously and shrewdly from the physi- 
cian to his companion. 

" It is never too late to pay a visit to so eminent a scholar 
as Dom Claude Frollo of Tirechappe," replied Doctor Coic- 
tier, whose Burgundian accent let his sentences trail along 
with all the majestic effect of a long-trained robe. 

The physician and the Archdeacon then embarked upon 
one of those congratulatory prologues with which, at that 
period, it was customary to usher in every conversation be- 
tween scholars, which did not prevent them most cordially 
detesting one another. For the rest, it is just the same 
to-day ; the mouth of every scholar who compliments another 
is a vessel full of honeyed gall. 

The felicitations addressed by Claude to Jacques Coictier 
alluded chiefly to the numerous material advantages the 
worthy physician had succeeded in extracting, in the course 
of his much-envied career, from each illness of the King — 
a surer and more profitable kind of alchemy than the pursuit 
of the philosopher's stone. 

" Truly, Doctor Coictier, I was greatly rejoiced to learn 
of the promotion of your nephew, my reverend Superior, 
Pierre Verse, to a bishopric. He is made Bishop of Amiens, 
is he not? " 

" Yes, Monsieur the Archdeacon, it is a gracious and 
merciful gift of the Lord." 

" Let me tell you you made a brave show on Christmas- 
day at the head of your company of the Chamber of Account- 
ants, Monsieur the President." 

" Vice-President, Dom Claude. Alas ! nothing more." 

" How fares it with your superb mansion in the Rue 
Saint-Andry des Arcs ? It is in very truth a Louvre ! And 

^ 164 

The Abbot of Saint-Martin's 

I am much taken by the apricot-tree sculptured on the door, 
with the pleasant play of words inscribed beneath it, ' A 
l'Abri-Cotier,' " 

" Well, well, Maitre Claude, all this masons' work costs 
me dearly. In the same measure as my house rises higher, 
my funds sink lower." 

" Oho ! Have you not your revenues from the jail, and 
the provostship of the Palais de Justice, and the rents from 
all the houses, workshops, booths, and market-stalls within 
the circuit of Paris? That is surely an excellent milch cow." 

" My castellany of Poissy has not brought me in a sou 
this year." 

" But your toll dues at Triel, Saint- James, and Saint- 
Germain-en-Laye — they are always profitable ? " 

" Six times twenty livres only, and not even Paris money 
at that." 

" But you have your appointment as Councillor to the 
King — that means a fixed salary surely ? " 

" Yes, Colleague Claude, but that cursed Manor of 
Poligny, they make such a coil about, is not worth more to 
me than sixty gold crowns — taking one year with another." 

The compliments which Dom Claude thus addressed to 
Jacques~~Gotctier were^utfered in that tone of veiled, bitter, 
sar3oi^lc^allTery7~^vltT^ that grievous, yet cruel, smile of a 
superlorand unfortunate man, who seeks a moment's distrac- 
tion in playing on the gross vanity of the vulgarly prosperous 
man. The other was quite unconscious of it. 

" By my soul ! " said Claude at last, pressing his hand, 
" I rejoice to see you in such excellent health." 

" Thank you, Maitre Claude." 

" Speaking of health," cried Dom Claude, " how is your 
royal patient ? " 

" He does not pay his doctor suf^ciently well," said the 
physician with a side glance at his companion. 

"Do you really think that, friend Coictier?" said the 

These words, uttered in a tone of surprise and reproach, 
recalled the Archdeacon's attention to the stranger's presence, 
though, to tell the truth, he had never, from the moment he 
crossed the threshold, quite turned away from this unknown 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

gtiest. Indeed, it required the thousand reasons Claude had 
for humouring the all-powerful physician of Louis XI to 
make him consent to receive him thus accompanied. There- 
fore, his expression was none of the friendliest when Jacques 
Coictier said to him : 

" By-the-bye, Dom Claude, I have brought a colleague, 
who was most desirous of seeing one of whom he has heard 
so much." 

"Monsieur is a scholar?" asked the Archdeacon, fixing 
Coictier's companion with a penetrating eye. But from under 
the brows of the rtranger he met a glance not less keen or 
less suspicious than his own. 

He was, so far as one could judge by the feeble rays of 
the lamp, a man of about sixty, of middle height, and appar- 
ently ailing and broken. His face, although the features were 
sufficiently commonplace, had something commanding and 
severe ; his eye glittered under the deep arch of his brow 
like a beacon-light far down a cavern ; and under the cap, 
pulled down almost to his nose, one divined instinctively the 
broad forehead of a genius. 

He took upon himself to answer the archdeacon's inquiry. 

" Reverend sir," said he in grave tones, " your fame has 
reached me, and I was desirous of consulting you. I am 
but a poor gentleman from the provinces who takes the 
shoes ofif his feet before entering the presence of the learned. 
I must acquaint you with my name : they call me Compere * 

" Singular name for a gentleman," thought the Arch- 
deacon. Nevertheless, he felt himself in the presence of 
something powerful and commanding. The instinct of his 
high intelligence led him to suspect one no less high beneath 
the fur-trimmed cap of Compere Tourangeau ; and as he 
scrutinized that quiet figure, the sneering smile that twitched 
round the corners of his morose mouth as he talked to Coictier 
faded slowly away, like the sunset glow from an evening sky. 

He had seated himself again, gloomy and silent, in his 
great arm-chair, his elbow had resumed its accustomed place 
on the table, his head leaning on his hand. 

* Goodman, gossip. 


The Abbot of Saint-Martin's 

After a few moments of deep reflection, he signed to his 
two visitors to be seated, and then addressed himself to Com- 
pere Tourangeau. 

" You came to consult me, sir, and on what subject? " 

" Your Reverence," answered Tourangeau, " I am sick, 
very sick. Rumour says you are a great ^sculapius, and I 
am come to ask your advice as to a remedy." 

" A remedy ! " exclaimed the Archdeacon, shaking his head. 
He seemed to consider for a moment, and then resumed • 
" Compere Tourangeau — since that is your name — turn your 
head. You will find my answer written on the wall." 

Tourangeau did as he was bid, and read the following 
inscription on the wall, above his head : "Medicine is the daugh- 
ter of dreams. — Iamblichus." 

Doctor Jacques Coictier had listened to his companion's 
question with a vexation which Dom Claude's answer only 
served to increase. He now leaned over to Tourangeau and 
whispered, too low for the Archdeacon's ear : " Did I gcLLwarn 
you that he was a crack-brained fool? You were set upon 
seeing him." 

" But it might very well be that he is right in his opinion, 
this madman, Doctor Jacques," returned his friend in the 
same tone, and with a bitter smile. 

" Just as you please," answered Coictier dryly. " You 
are very quick in your decision, Dom Claude, and Hippoc- 
rates apparently presents no more difficulties to you than a 
nut to a monkey. Medicine a dream ! I doubt if the apothe- 
caries and doctors, were they here, could refrain from stoning 
you. So you deny the influence of philters on the blood, of 
unguents on the flesh? You deny the existence of that 
eternal pharmacy of flowers and metals which we call the 
World, created expressly for the benefit of that eternal invalid 
we call Man ! " 

" I_ deny the existence," answered Dom Claude coldly, 
" neither oT the pharmacy nor the invalid. I deny that of 
the physician." 

" Then, I presume it is not true," Coictier went on with 
rising heat, *' that gout is an internal eruption ; that a shot- 
wound may be healed by the outward application of a roasted 
mouse ; that young blood, injected in suitable quantities, will 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

restore youth to aged veins ; it is not true that two and two 
make four, and that emprosthotonos follows upon opis- 
thotonos? " 

" There are certain matters about which I think in a 
certain way," the Archdeacon replied vmmoved. 

Coictier flushed an angry red. 

" Come, come, my good Coictier, do not let us get angry," 
said Compere Tourangeau, " the reverend Archdeacon is 
our host." 

Coictier calmed down, but growled to himself : " He's 
a madman, for all that." 

" Pas que Dieu!" resumed Tourangeau, after a short 
silence ; " you put me in a very embarrassing position, Maitre 
Claude. I looked to obtaining two opinions from you, one 
as to my health, the other as to my star." 

" Monsieur," returned the Archdeacon, " if that is your 
idea, you would have done better not to waste your health 
in mounting my stairs. I_do not believe in medicine, and I_ 
do not believe in astrology." "' " ^^n_;(-4f ilMeU-t<i'i»o4h 

" Is that so?" exclaimed the good man in surprise. ' "' ' '' 

Coictier burst into a forced laugh. 

" You must admit now that he's mad," he said in low 
tones to Tourangeau ; " he does not believe in astrology." 

" How can any one possibly believe," continued Dom 
(^laude, " that every ray of a star is a thread attached to 
a man's head ? " 

" And what do you believe in then ? " cried Tourangeau. 

The Archdeacon hesitated for a moment, then, with a 
sombre smile which seemed to give the lie to his words, he 
answered, " Credo in Deum." 

" Dominum nostrum," added Tourangeau, making the sign 
of the cross. 

" Amen," said Coictier. 

" Reverend sir," resumed Tourangeau, " I am charmed to 
my soul to find you so firm in the faith. But, erudite scholar 
that you are, have you reached the point of no longer believ- 
ing in science? " 

" No ! " cried the Archdeacon, grasping Tourangeau's arm, 
while a gleam of enthusiasm flashed in his sunken eye ; " no, 
I do not deny science. I have not crawled so long on my 


The Abbot of Saint-Martin's 

belly with my nails dug in the earth through all the innu- 
merable windings of that dark mine, without perceiving in the 
far distance — at the end of the dim passage — a light, a flame, 
a something; the reflection, no doubt, from that dazzling 
central laboratory in which the patient and the wise have 
come upon God." 

" And finally," interrupted Tourangeau, " what do you 
hold for true and certain?" . i^i. 

Alchemy !" --^ '-' --^ ^ ■<■•■'■ '-^ .^. .,'j 

Coictier exclaimed aloud, " Pardicn, Dom Claude, there 
is_ doubtless much truth in alchemy, but wliy blaspheme 
against medicine and astrology?" 

^TSIulI is your science of man, your science of the heavens 
nullj,' said the Archdeacon imperiously. 

" But that's dealing hardly with Epidaurus and Chaldea," 
returned the physician with a sneering laugh. 

" Listen, Messire Jacques. I speak in all good faith. I 
am not physician to the King, and his Majesty did not give 
me a Labyrinth in which to observe the constellations. Nay, 
be not angry, but listen to what I say: what truths have you 
extracted from the study — I will not say of medicine, which is 
too foolish a matter — but froni astrology ? Explain to me the 
virtues of the vertical boustrophedon,* or the treasures con- 
tained in the numeral ziruph, and in those of the numeral 

" Will you deny," said Coictier, " the sympathetic influ- 
ence of the clavicula, and that it is the key to all caba- 
listic science? " 

"Errors, Messire Jacques! None of your formulas have 
anything definite to show, whereas alchemy has its actual 
discoveries. Can you contest such results as these, for 
instance- — ice, buried underground for two thousand years, 
is converted into rock cr>rtal ; lead is the progenitor of all 
metals (for gold is not a metal, gold is light) ; lead requires 
but four periods of two hundred years each to pass succes- 
sively from the condition of lead to that of red arsenic, from 
red arsenic to tin, from tin to silver. Are these facts, or are 

* Writing from right to left and back again from left to right without 
breaking off the lines. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

they not? But to believe in the clavicula, in the mystic 
significance of the junction of two hnes, in the stars, is as 
ridiculous as to believe, like the inhabitants of Cathay, that 
the oriole changes into a mole, and grains of wheat into 
carp-like fish." 

" I have studied hermetics," cried Coictier, " and I 
affirm " 

The impetuous Archdeacon would not let him finish. 
" And I — I have studied medicine, astrology, and hermetics. 
Here alone is truth " (and as he spoke he took up one of 
those phials of glass of which mention has been made), " here 
alone is light ! Hippocrates — a dream ; Urania — a dream ; 
Hermes — a phantasm. Gold is the sun ; to make gold is to be 
God. There is the one and only science. I have sounded med- 
icine and astrology to their depths — null, I tell you — null and 
void ! The human body^darkness 1 the stars — darkness ! " 

He sank into his chair with a compelling and inspired 
gesture. Tourangeau observed him in silence ; Coictier forced 
a disdainful laugh, shrugging his shoulders imperceptibly while 
he repeated under his breath, " Madman." 

" Well," said Tourangeau suddenly, " and the transcen- 
dental result — have you achieved it? Have you succeeded 
in making gold ? " 

" If I had," answered the Archdeacon, dropping his words 
slowly like a man in a reverie, " the name of the King of 
France would be Claude and not Louis." 

Tourangeau bent his brow. 

" Pah, what am I saying?" resumed Dom Claude with a 
disdainful smile. " What would the throne of France be to 
me when I could reconstruct the Empire of the East ? " 

" Well done ! " exclaimed Tourangeau. 

" Poor ass ! " murmured Coictier. 

" No," the Archdeacon went o'^, as if in answer to his own 
thoughts, " I am still crawling, still bruising my face and my 
knees against the stones of the subterranean path. Fitful 
glimpses I catch, but nothing clear. I cannot read — I am 
but conning the alphabet." 

" And when you have learned to read, will you be able 
to make gold ? " 

"Who doubts it?" answered the Archdeacon. 


The Abbot of Saint-Martin's 

" In that case — Our Lady knows I am in dire need of 
money — I would gladly learn to read in your books. Tell 
me, reverend master, is not your science inimical and dis- 
pleasing to Our Lady, think you ? " 

To this question of Tourangeau's Dom Claude contented 
himself by making answer with quiet dignity, " Whose 
priest am I ? " 

" True, true, master. Well, then, will it please you to 
initiate me ? Let me learn to spell with you ? " 

Claude assumed the majestic and sacerdotal attitude of a 

" Old man, it would require more years than yet remain 
to you to undertake this journey across the world of mystery. 
Your head is very gray ! One emerges from the cave with 
white hair, but one must enter it with black. Science knows 
very well how to furrow and wither up the face of man without 
assistance ; she has no need that age should bring to her 
faces that are already wrinkled. Nevertheless, if you are 
possessed by the desire to put yourself under tutelage at 
your age, and to decipher the awful alphabet of Wisdom, 
well and good, come to me, I will do what I can. I will not 
bid you, poor graybeard, go visit the sepulchral chambers of 
the Pyramids, of which the ancient Herodotus speaks, nor 
the brick tower of Babylon, nor the vast marble sanctuary 
of the Indian Temple of Eklinga. I have not seen, any more 
than you have, the Chaldean walls built in accordance with 
the sacred formula of Sikra, nor the Temple of Solomon 
which was destroyed, nor the stone doors of the sepulchres 
of the Kings of Israel which are broken in pieces. Such 
fragments of the Book of Hermes as we have here will suffice 
us. I will explain to you the statue of Saint-Christopher, the 
symbol of the Sower, and that of the two angels in the door 
of the Sainte-Chapelle, of whom one has his hand in a stone 
vessel, and the other in a cloud." 

Here Jacques Coictier, who had been quite confounded 
by the Archdeacon's tempestuous flow of eloquence, recov- 
ered his composure and struck in with the triumphant tone 
of one scholar setting another right : 

" Erras, amice Clatidi — there you are in error. The symbol 
is not the numeral. You mistake Orpheus for Hermes." 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

" It is you who are in error," returned the Archdeacon 
with dignit}' ; " Daedalus is the foundation ; Orpheus is the 
wall ; Hermes is the edifice — the whole structure. Come 
whenever it please you," he continued, turning to Touran- 
geau. " I will show you the particles of gold left in the 
bottom of Nicolas Flamel's crucible wdiich you can com- 
pare with the gold of Guillaume de Paris. I will instruct 
you in the secret virtues of the Greek word peristera. But 
before all things, you shall read, one after another, the letters 
of the marble alphabet, the pages of the granite book. We 
will go from the doorway of Bishop Guillaume and of Saint- 
Jean le Rond to the Sainte-Chapelle, then to the house of 
Nicolas Flamel in the Rue Marivault, to his tomb in the 
cemetery of the Holy Innocents, to his two hospices in the 
Rue de Montmorency. You shall read the hieroglyphics 
with which the four great iron bars in the porch of the 
Hospice of Saint-Gervais are covered. Together we will 
spell out the fagades of Saint-Come, of Sainte-Genevieve-des- 
Ardents, Saint-Martin, Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie " 

For some time past, Tourangeau, with all his intelligence, 
appeared unable to follow Dom Claude. He broke in now : 

" Pasquc Dicii! but what are these books of yours? " 

" Here is one," replied the Archdeacon ; and opening the 
window of his cell, he pointed to the mighty Cathedral of 
Notre-Dame, the black silhouette of its two towers, its stone 
sides, and its huge roof sharply outlined against the starry 
sky, and looking like an enormous two-headed sphinx 
crouching in the midst of the city. 

For some moments the Archdeacon contemplated the 
gigantic edifice in silence ; then, sighing deeply, he pointed 
v^rith his right hand to the printed book lying open on his 
table, and with his left to Notre-Dame, and casting a mournful 
glance from the book to the church : 

" Alas ! " he said. " This will destroy that." 

Coictier, who had bent eagerly over the book, could not 
repress an exclamation of disappointment. " He ! but what 
is there so alarming in this? Ghsso in Episfolas Pauli. 
Norimbcrgcp, Antonhis Koburgcr, 1474. That is not new. It 
is a book of Petrus Lombardus, the Magister Sententiarum. 
Do you mean because it is printed ? " 


The Abbot of Saint-Martin's 

" You have said it," returned Claude, who stood appar- 
ently absorbed in profound meditation, with his finger on the 
folio which had issued from the famous printing-press of 
Nuremberg. Presently he uttered these dark words : " Woe ! 
woe ! the small brings down the great ; a tooth triumphs over 
a whole mass ! The Nile rat destroys the crocodile, the 
sword-fish destroys the whale, the book will destroy the 
edifice ! " 

The curfew of the cloister rang at this moment as Doctor 
Jacques whispered to his companion his everlasting refrain 
of " He is mad ! " To which the companion replied this time, 
" I believe he is.'' 

It was the hour after which no stranger might remain in 
the cloister. The two visitors prepared to retire. 

" Maitre," said Compere Tourangeau, as he took leave 
of the Archdeacon, " I have a great regard for scholars and 
great spirits, and I hold you in peculiar esteem. Come to- 
morrow to the Palais des Tournelles, and ask for the Abbot 
of Saint-Martin of Tours." 

The Archdeacon returned to his cell dumfounded, com- 
prehending at last who the personage calling himself Com- 
pere Tourangeau really was : for he called to mind this passage 
in the Charter of Saint-Martin of Tours : Abbas, beati Martini, 
scilicet Rex Francice, est canoniciis de consuetudine et habet par- 
vam prcebendam quam habct sanctus Venantius, et debet sedere 
in sede thesaiirii* 

It is asserted that from that time onward the Archdeacon 
conferred frequently with Louis XI, whenever his Majesty 
came to Paris, and that the King's regard for Dom Claude 
put Olivier le Daim and Jacques Coictier quite in the shade, 
the latter of whom, as was his custom, rated the King 
soundly in consequence. 

* The Abbot of Saint-Martin, tha«t is to say the King of France, is 
canon, according to custom, and has the small benefice which Saint- 
Venantis had, and shall sit in the seat of the treasurer. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 


Our fair readers must forgive us if we halt a moment 
here and endeavour to unearth the idea hidden under the 
Archdeacon's enigmatical words : 

" This^jwill_destro y That. The Bo ok will destroy the 
Edifice." ""' 

~Tb our mind, this thought has two aspects. In the first 
place it was a view pertaining to the priest — it was the terror 
of the ecclesiastic before a new ^rce — printing. It was the 
servant of the dim sanctuary scared and dazzled by the light 
that streamed from Gutenberg's press. It was the pulpit and 
the manuscript, the spoken and the written word quailing 
before the printed word — something of the stupefaction of 
the sparrow at beholding the Heavenly Host spread their 
six million wings. It was the cry of the prophet who already 
hears the far-off roar and tumult of emancipated humanity ; 
who, gazing into the future, sees intelligence sapping the 
foundations of faith, opinion dethroning belief, the world 
shaking ofif the yoke of Rome ; the prognostication of the 
philosopher who sees human thought volatilized by the press, 
evaporating out of the theocratic receiver ; the terror of the 
besieged soldier gazing at the steel battering-ram and saying 
to himself, " The citadel must fall." It signified that one 
great power was to supplant another great power. It meant, 
The Printing-Press will destroy the Church. 
~^-But underlying this thought — the first and no doubt the 
less complex of the two — there was, in our opinion, a second, 
a more modern — a corollary to the former idea, less on the 
surface and more likely to be contested ; a view fully as 
philosophic, but pertaining no longer exclusively to the priest, 
but to the scholar and the artist likewise. .It was a premoni- 
tion that human thought, in changing its outward form, was 
also about to change its outward mode of expression ; that 
the dominant idea of each generation would, in future, be 
embodied in a new material, a new fashion ; that the book 
of stone, so solid and so enduring, was to give way to the 


This Will Destroy That 

book of paper, more solid and more enduring still. In this 
respect the vague formula of the Archdeacon had a second 
meaning — that one Art would dethrone another Art : Printing 
will destroy" Architecture, 

In effect, from the very beginning of things down to the 
fifteenth century of the Christian era inclusive, architecture 
is the great book of the human race, man's chief means 
of expressing the various stages of his development, whether 
pliysical or mental. 

When the memory of the primitive races began to be 
surcharged, when the load of tradition carried about by the 
human family grew so heavy and disordered that the word, 
naked and fleeting, ran danger of being lost by the way, they 
transcribed it on the ground by the most visible, the most 
lasting, and at the same time most natural means. They 
enclosed each tradition in a monument. 

The first monuments were simply squares of rock " which 
had not been touched by iron," as says Moses. Architecture 
began like all writing. It was first an alphabet. A stone was 
planted upright and it was a letter, and each letter was a 
hieroglyph, and on every hieroglyph rested a group of ideas, 
like the capital on the column. Thus did the primitive races 
act at the same moment over the entire face of the globe. 
One finds the " upright stone " of the Celts in Asiatic Siberia 
and on the pampas of America. 

Presently they constructed words. Stone was laid upon 
stone, these granite syllables were coupled together, the word 
essayed some combinations. The Celtic dolmen and crom- 
lech, the Etruscan tumulus, the H^rew galgal, are words — 
some of them, the tumulus in particular, are proper names. 
Occasionally, when there were many stones and a vast ex- 
panse of ground, they wrote a sentence. The immense mass 
of stones at Karnac is already a complete formula. 

Last of all they made books. Traditions had ended by 
bringing forth symbols, under which they disappeared like 
the trunk of a tree under its foliage. These symbols, in which 
all humanity believed, continued to grow and multiply, becom- 
ing more and more complex ; the primitive monuments — 
themselves scarcely expressing the original traditions, and, 
hke them, simple, rough-hewn, and planted in the soil — no 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

longer sufficed to contain them : they overflowed at every 
point. Of necessity the symbol must expand into the edifice. 
Architecture followed the development of human thought ; 
it became a giant with a thousand heads, a thousand arms, 
and caught and concentrated in one eternal, visible, tangible 
form all this floating symbolism. While Daedalus, who is 
strength, was measuring; while Orpheus, who is intelligence, 
was singing — the pillar, which is a letter ; the arch, which 
is a syllable ; the pyramid, which is a word, set in motion 
at once by a law of geometry and a law of poetry, be- 
gan to group themselves together, to combine, to blend, to 
sink, to rise, stood side by side on the ground, piled them- 
selves up into the sky, till, to the dictation of the prevail- 
ing idea of the epoch, they had written these marvellous 
books which ar e equally marvellous edifices : the Pagoda 
of Eklinga, the Pyramids of Egypt, and the Temple of Sol- 

The parent idea, the Word, was not only contained in the 
foundation of these edifices, but in their structure. Solomon's 
Temple, for example, was not simply the cover of the sacred 
book, it was the sacred book itself. On each of its con- 
centric enclosures the priest might read the Word translated 
and made manifest to the eye, might follow its transformations 
from sanctuary to sanctuary, till at last he could lay hold 
upon it in its final tabernacle, under its most concrete form, 
which yet was architecture — the Ark. Thus the Word was 
enclosed in the edifice, but its image was visible on its outer 
covering, like the human figure depicted on the coffin of 
a mummy. 

Again, not only the structure of the edifice but its_jitua- 
tion revealed the idea it embodied. According as the thought 
to be expressed was gracious or sombre, Greece crowned her 
mountains with temples harmonious to the eye ; India dis- 
embowelled herself to hew out those massive subterranean 
pagodas which are supported by rows of gigantic granite 

Thus, during the first six thousand years of the world 
— from the most immemorial temple of Hindustan to the 
Cathedral at Cologne — architecture has been the great manu- 
script of the human race. And this is true to such a degree, 


This Will Destroy That 

that not only every religious symbol, but every human thought, 
has its page and its memorial in that vast book. 

Every civilization begins with theocracy and ends with 

The reign of many masters succeeding the reign of one 
is written in architecture. For — and this point we must 
emphasize — it must not be supposed that it is only capable 
of building temples, of expressing only the sacerdotal myth 
and symbolism, of transcribing in hieroglyphics on its stone 
pages the mysterious Tables of the Law. Were this the case, 
then — seeing that in every human society there comes a 
moment when the sacred symbol is worn out, and is obliter- 
ated by the free thought, when the man breaks away from 
the priest, when the growth of philosophies and systems eats 
away the face of religion — architecture would be unable to 
reproduce this new phase of the human mind : its leaves, 
written upon the right side, would be blank on the reverse ; 
its work would be cut short ; its book incomplete. But that 
is not the case. 

Take, for example, the epoch of the Middle Ages, which is 
clearer to us because it is nearer. During its first period, while 
theocracy is organizing Europe, while the Vatican is collect- 
ing and gathering round it the elements of a new Rome, con- 
structed out of the Rome which lay in fragments round the 
Capitol, while Christianity goes forth to search among the 
ruins of a former civilization, and out of its remains to build 
up a new hierarchic world of which sacerdotalism is the key- 
stone, we hear it stirring faintly through the chaos; then 
gradually, from under the breath of Christianity, from under 
the hands of the barbarians, out of the rubble of dead archi- 
tectures, Greek and Roman — there emerges that mysterious 
Romanesque architecture, sister of the theocratic buildings 
of Egypt and India, inalterable emblem of pure Catholicism, 
immutable hieroglyph of papal unity. The whole tendency 
of the time is written in this sombre Romanesque style. 
Everywhere it represents authority, unity, the imperturbable, 
the absolute, Gregory VII ; always the priest, never the man : 
everywhere the caste, never the people. 

Then come the Crusades, a great popular movement, and 
every popular movement, whatever its cause or its aim, has 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

as its final precipitation the spirit of liberty. Innovations 
struggled forth to the light. At this point begins the stormy 
period of the Peasant wars, the revolts of the Burghers, the 
Leagues of the Princes. Authority totters, unity is split and 
branches ofif into two directions. Feudalism demands to 
divide the power with theocracy before the inevitable advent 
of the people, who, as ever, will take the lion's share — Quia 
iiominor leo. Hence we see feudalism thrusting up through 
theocracy, and the people's power again through feudalism. 
The whole face of Europe is altered. \^ery good ; the face of 
architecture alters with it. Like civilization, she has turned 
a page, and the new spirit of the times finds her prepared 
to write to his dictation. She has brought home w-ith her 
from the crusades the pointed arch, as the nations have 
brought free thought. Henceforward, as Rome is gradually 
dismembered, so the Romanesque architecture dies out. The 
hieroglyphic deserts the Cathedral, and goes to assist heraldrv' 
in heightening the prestige of feudalism. The Cathedral 
itself, once so imbued with dogma, invaded now by the com- 
monalty, by the spirit of freedom, escapes from the priest, 
and falls under the dominion of the artist. The artist fashions 
it after his own good pleasure. Farewell to mystery, to myth, 
to rule. Here fantasy and caprice are a law unto themselves. 
Provided the priest has his basilica and his altar, he has noth- 
ing further to say in the matter. The four walls belong to 
the artist. The stone book belongs no more to the priest, 
to religion, to Rome, but to imagination, to poetry, to the 
people. From thenceforward' occur these rapid and innu- 
merable transformations of an architecture only lasting three 
centuries, so striking after the six or seven centuries of stag- 
nant immobility of the Romanesque style. Meanwhile, Art 
marches on with giant strides, and popular originality plays 
what was formerly the Bishop's part. Each generation in 
passing inscribes its line in the book : it rubs out the ancient 
Roman hieroglyphics from the frontispiece — hardly that one 
sees here and there some dogma glimmering faintly through the 
new symbol overlying it. The framework of religion is scarce- 
ly perceptible through this new drapery. One can scarcely 
grasp the extent of the license practised at that time by the 
architects, even on the churches. Such are the shamelessly 


This Will Destroy That 

intertwined groups of monks and nuns on the capitals of the 
Gallery of Chimney-Pieces in the Palais de Justice ; the epi- 
sode out of the history of Noah sculptured " to the letter " 
over the Cathedral door at Bourges ; the bacchic monk, with 
ass's ears and glass in hand, grinning in the face of a whole 
congregation, carved on a stone basin of the Abbey of Bocher- 
ville. For the thought written in stone there existed at that 
period a privilege perfectly comparable to the present liberty 
of the press. It was the liberty of architecture. 

And the liberty went far. At times a door, a fagade, nay, 
even an entire church, presents a symbolical meaning wholly 
unconnected with worship, even inimical to the Church itself. 
In the thirteenth century, Guillaume of Paris, and in the 
fifteenth, Nicolas Flamel wrote such seditious pages. Saint- 
Jacques-de-la-Boucherie was a complete volume of opposition. 

This was the only form, however, in which free thought 
was possible, and therefore found full expression only in those 
books called edifices. Under that form it might have looked 
on at its own burning at the hands of the common hangman 
had it been so imprudent as to venture into manuscript : the 
thought embodied in the church door would have assisted 
at the death agony of the thought expressed in the book. 
Therefore, having but this one outlet, it rushed towards it 
from all parts ; and hence the countless mass of Cathedrals 
spread over all Europe, a number so prodigious that it seems 
incredible, even after verifying it with one's own eyes. All 
the material, all the intellectual forces of society, converged 
to that one point — architecture. In this way, under the pre- 
text of building churches to the glory of God, the art devel- 
oped, to magnificent proportions. 

In those days, he who was bom a poet became an architect. 
All the genius scattered among the masses and crushed down 
on every side under feudalism, as under a testndo of brazen 
bucklers, finding no outlet but in architecture, escaped by 
way of that art, and its epics found voice in cathedrals. All 
other arts obeyed and put themselves at the service of the 
one. They were the artisans of the great work ; the architect 
summed up in his own person, sculpture, which carved his 
fagade ; painting, which dyed his windows in glowing col- 
ours ; music, which set his bells in motion and breathed in 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

his organ pipes. Even poor Poetry — properly so called, who 
still persisted in eking out a meagre existence in manuscript — 
was obliged, if she was to be recognised at all, to enroll herself 
in the service of the edifice, either as hymn or prosody ; the 
small part played, after all, by the tragedies of -^^schylus in 
the sacerdotal festivals of Greece, and the Book of Genesis in 
the Temple of Solomon. 

Thus, till Gutenberg's time, architecture is the chief, the 
universal form of writing ; in this stone book, begun by the 
East, continued by Ancient Greece and Rome, the Middle 
Ages have written the last page. For the rest, this phe- 
nomenon of an architecture belonging to the people suc- 
ceeding an architecture belonging to a caste, which we have 
observed in the Middle Ages, occurs in precisely analogous 
stages in human intelligence at other great epochs of history. 
Thus — to sum up here in a few lines a law which would call 
for volumes to do it justice — in the Far East, the cradle of 
primitive history, after Hindu architecture comes the Phoe- 
nician, that fruitful mother of Arabian architecture ; in 
antiquity, Egyptian architecture — of which the Etruscan 
style and the Cyclopean monuments are but a variety — is 
succeeded by the Greek, of which the Roman is merely a 
prolongation burdened with the Carthaginian dome ; in mod- 
ern times, after Romanesque architecture comes the Gothic. 
And if we separate each of these three divisions, we shall 
V' find that the three elder sisters— Hindu, Egyptian, and 
Roman architecture — stand for the same idea : namely, theoc- 
racy, caste, unity, dogma, Godj and that the three younger 
slsfefs^^^Phoenician, Greek, Gothic — whatever the diversity of 
expression inherent to their nature, have also the same sig- 
nificance : liberty, the people, humanity. 

Call him Brahmin, Magi, or Pope, according as you speak 
of Hindu, Egyptian, or Roman buildings, it is always the 
priest, and nothing but the priest. Very different are the 
architectures of the people ; they are more opulent and less 
saintly. In the Phoenician you see the merchant, in the 
Greek the republican, in the Gothic the burgess. 

The general characteristics of all theocratic architectures 
are immutability, horror of progress, strict adherence to tra- 
ditional lines, the consecration of primitive types, the adapta- 



This Will Destroy That 

tion of every aspect of man and nature to the incompre- 
hensible whims of symboHsm. Dark and mysterious book, 
which only the initiated can decipher! Furthermore, every 
form, every deformity even, in them has a meaning which 
renders it inviolable. Never ask of Hindu, Egyptian, or 
Roman architecture to change its designs or perfect its sculp- 
ture. To it, improvement in any shape or form is an impiety. 
Here the rigidity of dogma seems spread over' the stone . ^^ . 
like a second coating of petrifaction. - .^ * ^^ 

Qli_the other hand, the main characteristics of the populact;- T"°'/f' 
architectures~"^re diversity, progress, originality, richness of 
design^ perpetual change. They are"" already suf^ciently 
3etached from "religion to take thought for their beauty, to 
tend it, to alter and improve without ceasing their garniture 
of statues and arabesques. They go with their times. They 
haye^something human in them which they constantly infuse 
into 'the divine symbols in which they continue to express 
themselves. Here you get edifices accessible to every spirit, 
every intelligence, every imagination ; symbolic still, but as 
easily understood as the signs of Nature. Between this style 
of architecture and the theocratic there is the same difference 
as between the sacred and the vulgar tongue, between hiero- 
glyphics and art, between Solomon and Phidias. 

In fact, if we sum up what we have just roughly pointed 
out — disregarding a thousand details of proof and also excep- 
tions to the rule— it comes briefly to this: that down to the//' 
fifteenth century ,^rchitecture was the chief recorder'ST't^r^ 
human ra:ce;' that during that space no single thought that 
went beyond the absolutely fundamental, but was embodied 
in some edifice ; that every popular idea, like every religious 
law, has had its monuments; finally, that the human race 
has never conceived an important thought that it has not 
wTitt?^tf'"d(3wn in stone._, And why? Because every thought, 
whether religious or philosophic, is anxious to'be perpetuated ; 
because the idea which has stirred one generation longs to 
stir others, and to leave some lasting trg^ce. But how pre- 
carious is the immortality of the manuscript ! How far more 
solid, enduring, and resisting a book is the edifice ! To 
destroy the written word there is need only of a torch and 
a Turk. To destroy the constructed word there is need of 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

a social revolution, a terrestrial upheaval. The barbarians 
swept over the Coliseum ; the deluge, perhaps, over the 

In the fifteenth century all is changed. 

Human thought discovers a means of perpetuating itself, 
not only more durable and more resisting than architecture, 
but also simpler and more easy of achievement. Architecture 
is dethroned, the stone letters of Orpheus must give way to 
Gutenberg's letters of lead. 

The Book 2vill destroy the Edifice. 
,.V ' The invention of printing is the greatest event of history. 
It is the parent revolution ;itj.s, a fundamental chjing man- 
kind's mode of expression ; it is human thought putting ofif 
one shape to don another ; it is the complete and definite 
sloughing of the skin of that serpent w^ho, since the days of 
Adam, has symbolized intelligence. 

Under the form of printing, thought is more imperishable 
than ever; it is volatile, intangible, indestructible; it mingles 
with the very air. In the reign of architecture it became a 
mountain, and took forceful possession of an era, of a country. 
Now it is transformed into a flock of birds, scattering to the 
four winds and filling the whole air and space. 

We repeat : who does not admit that in this form thought 
is infinitely more indelible? The stone has become inspired 
with life. Durability has been exchanged for immortality. 
One can demolish substance, but how extirpate ubiquity? 
Let a deluge come — the birds will still be flying above the 
waters long after the mountain has sunk from view; and let 
but a single ark float upon the face of the cataclysm, and 
they will seek safety upon it and there await the subsiding 
of the waters ; and the new world rising out of this chaos will 
behold when it wakes, hovering over it, w-inged and un- 
harmed, the thought of the world that has gone down. 

And when one notes that this mode of expression is not 
only the most preservative, but also the simplest, the most 
convenient, the most practicable for all ; when one considers 
that it is not hampered by a great weight of tools and clumsy 
appurtenances ; when one compares the thought, forced, in 
order to translate itself into an edifice, to call to its assistance 
four or five other arts and tons of gold, to collect a mountain 


This Will Destroy That 

of stones, a forest of wood, a nation of workmen — when one 
compares this with the thought that only asks for a Httle 
paper, a httle ink, and a pen in order to become a book, 
is it any wonder that human intelligence deserted architecture 
for printing? 

Then observe too, how, after the discovery of printing, 
architecture gradually becomes dry, withered, naked ; how 
the water visibly sinks, the sap ceases to rise, the thought of 
the times and of the peoples desert it. This creeping paralysis 
is hardly perceptible in the fifteenth century, the press is too 
feeble as yet, and what it does abstract from all-powerful 
architecture is but the superfluity of its strength. But by the 
sixteenth century the malady is pronounced. Already archi- 
tecture is no longer the essential expression of social life ; it 
assumes miserable classic airs; from Gallican, European, in- 
digenous, it becomes bastard Greek and Roman, from the 
genuine and the modern it becomes pseudo-antique. This 
decadence we call the Renaissance — a magnificent decadence 
nevertheless, for the ancient Gothic genius, that sun now 
sinking behind the gigantic printing-press of Mayence, sheds 
for a little while its last rays over this hybrid mass of Roman- 
esque arches and Corinthian colonnades. 

And it is this sunset that we take for the dawn of a 
new day. 

However, from the moment that architecture is nothing 
more than an art like any other — is no longer the sum total 
of art, the sovereign, the tyrant — it is powerless to monopolize 
the services of the others, who accordingly emancipate them- 
selves, throw ofif the yoke of the architect and go their sepa- 
rate ways. Each art gains by this divorce. Thus isolated, 
each waxes great. Stone-masonry becomes sculpture; pious 
illumination, painting ; the restricted chant blooms out into 
concerted music. It is like an empire falling asunder on the 
death of its Alexander, and each province becoming an inde- 
pendent kingdom. 

For here begins the period of Raphael, Michael Angelo, 
Jean Goujon, Palestrina — those luminaries of the dazzling 
firmament of the sixteenth century. 

And with the arts, thought, too, breaks its bonds on all 
sides. The free-thinkers of the Middle Ages had already 
J 183 Vol. 4 

Notre- Dame de Paris 

inflicted deep wounds on Catholicism. The sixteenth century 
rends rehgious unity in pieces. Before printing, the Reforma- 
tion would merely have been a schism : printing made it a 
revolution. Take away the press, and heresy is paralyzed. 
Look on it as fatal or providential, Gutenberg is the fore- 
runner of Luther. 

But when the sun of the Middle Ages has wholly set, 
when the radiance of Gothic genius has faded forever from 
the horizon of art, architecture, too, grows slowly pale, wan 
and lifeless. The printed book, that gnawing worm, sucks 
the life-blood from her and devours her. She droops, she 
withers, she wastes away before the eye. She becomes mean 
and poor, of no account, conveying nothing to the mind — • 
not even the memory of the art of other days. Reduced to 
her own exertions, deserted by the other arts because human 
thought has left her in the lurch, she has to employ the 
artisan in default of the artist. Plain glass replaces the glow- 
ing church window, the stone-mason the sculptor; farewell 
to vital force, to originality, life or intelligence ; as a lamenta- 
ble beggar of the studios she drags herself from copy to copy. 
Michael Angelo, doubtless sensible of her approaching end, 
made one last despairing effort in her aid. That Titan of the 
world of art piled the Pantheon on the Parthenon and so 
made Saint-Peter's of Rome — a gigantic work that deserved 
to remain unique, the last originality of architecture, the sig- 
nature of a mighty artist at the bottom of the colossal register 
of stone thus closed. But Michael Angelo once dead, what 
does this wretched architecture do, which only survives as a 
spectre, as a shade ? She takes Saint-Peter's and copies, paro- 
dies it. It becomes a mania with her, a thing to weep at : 
in the seventeenth century the Val-de-Grace, in the eight- 
eenth, Sainte-Genevieve. Every country has its Saint-Peter's. 
London has hers, St. Petersburg hers, Paris even two or 
three — a legacy of triviality, the last drivellings of a grand 
but decrepit art, fallen into second childhood before its final 

If, instead of the characteristic monuments like those of 
which we have spoken, we examine the general aspect of the 
art from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, we shall 
find everywhere the same evidences of decrepitude and decay. 


This Will Destroy That 

From the time of Francis II the form of the edifice lets the 
geometrical outline show through more and more, like the 
bony framework through the skin of an emaciated body. The 
generous curves of art give place to the cold and inexorable 
lines of geometry. An edifice is no longer an edifice, it is 
a polyhedron. Architecture, however, is at infinite pains to 
cover her nakedness, and hence the Greek pediment set in 
the Roman pediment and vice versa. It is always the 
Pantheon on the Parthenon, Saint-Peter's at Rome. Such are 
the brick houses with stone corners of the time of Henri IV, 
the Place Royale, the Place Dauphine. Such are the churches 
of Louis XIII, heavy, squat, compressed, with a dome like 
a hump. Thus, too, is the Mazarin architecture, the poor 
Italian pasticcio of the Quatre-Nations, the palaces of Louis 
XIV, mere court barracks, endless, frigid, wearisome ; and 
finally, the style of Louis XV with its chicory-leaf and vermi- 
celli ornaments, and all the warts and growths disfiguring 
that 'aged, toothless, demoralized coquette. From Francis 
II to Louis XV the malady progressed in geometrical ratio. 
The art is reduced to skin and bone, her life ebbs miser- 
ably away. 

Meanwhile, what of the art of printing? All the vital 
force taken from architecture streams to her. As architec- 
ture sinks, so . printing rises and expands. The store of 
strength spent hitherto by human thought on edifices is now 
bestowed on books ; till, by the sixteenth century, the press, 
grown now to the level of her shrunken rival, wrestles with 
her and prevails. In the seventeenth century she is already 
so absolute, so victorious, so firmly established on her throne, 
that she can afford to offer to the world the spectacle of a 
great literary era. In the eighteenth century, after long idle- 
ness at the Court of Louis XIV, she takes up again the ancient 
sword of Luther, thrusts it into Voltaire's hand, and runs 
full tilt at that antiquated Europe whom she has already 
robbed of all architectural expression. Thus, as the eight- 
eenth century ends she has accomplished her work of de- 
struction ; with the nineteenth century she begins to construct. 

Now which of these two arts, we ask, represents in truth 
the course of human thought during three centuries ; which 
of the two transmits, expresses, not only its fleeting literary 


Notre- Dame de Paris 

and scholastic fashions, but its vast, profound, all-embracing 
tendencies? 'Which of the two has fitted itself like a skin, 
without a crease or gap, over that thousand-footed, never- 
resting monster, the human race? Architecture or Printing? 

Printing. Let no one mistake : architecture is dead — 
dead beyond recall, killed by the printed book, killed because 
it is less durable, killed because it is more costly. Every 
Cathedral represents a million. Imagine now the sums neces- 
sary for the rewriting of that architectural tome ; for those 
countless edifices to spread once more over the land ; to 
return to the days when their abundance was such that from 
the testimony of an eye-witness " you would have thought 
that the world had cast ofif its old raiment and clad itself 
anew in a white raiment of churches." Erat enim ut si mundus, 
ipse excuticndo scnict, reject a vetustate, candidam ecclcsiarmn 
vestetn indncret. (Glaber Rudolphus.) 
^ A book takes so little time in the making, costs so little, 
and can reach so far. What wonder that human thought 
should choose that path? Though this is not to say that 
architecture will not, from time to time, put forth some 
splendid monument, some isolated master-piece. There is no 
reason why, under the reign of printing, we should not, some 
time or other, have an obelisk constructed, say, by an entire 
army out of melted cannon, as, under the reign of architec- 
ture, we had the Iliads, the Romants, the Mahabahratas, 
and the Nibelungen, built by whole nations with the welded 
fragments of a thousand epics. The great good fortune of 
possessing an architect of genius may befall the twentieth 
century, as Dante came to the thirteenth. But architecture 
will never again be the social, the collective, the dominant 
art. The great epic, the great monument, the great master- 
piece of mankind will never again be built ; it will be printed. 

And even if, by some fortuitous accident, architecture 
should revive, she will never again be mistress. She will have 
to submit to those laws which she once, imposed upon litera- 
ture. The respective positions of the two arts will be re- 
versed. Certainly, under the reign of architecture, the poems 
— rare, it is true — resemble the monuments of the time. The 
Indian Vyasa is strange, variegated, unfathomable, like the 
native pagoda. In Egypt the poetry shires the grand and 


This Will Destroy That 

tranquil lines of the edifices; in ancient Greece it has their 
beauty, serenity, and calm ; in Christian Europe, the majesty 
of the Church, the simplicity of the people, the rich and 
luxuriant vegetation of a period of rebirth. The Bible cor- 
responds to the Pyramids, the Iliad to the Parthenon, Homer 
to Phidias. Dante in the thirteenth century is the last Roman- 
esque church ; Shakespeare in the sixteenth, the last Gothic 

Thus, to put it shortly, mankind has two books, two regis- 
ters, two testaments : Architecture and Printing ; the Bible of 
stone and the Bible of paper. Doubtless, in contemplating 
these two Bibles, spread open wide through the centuries, 
one is fain to regret the visible majesty of the granite writing, 
those gigantic alphabets in the shape of colonnades, porches, 
and obelisks ; these mountains, as it were, the work of man's 
hand spread over the whole world and filling the past, from 
the pyramid to the steeple, from Cheops to Strassburg. The 
past should be read in these marble pages ; the books written 
by. architecture can be read and reread, with never-dimin- 
ishing interest ; but one cannot deny the grandeur of the 
edifice which printing has raised in its turn. 

That edifice is colossal. I do not know what statistician 
it was who calculated that by piling one upon another all 
the volumes issued from the press since Gutenberg, you 
would bridge the space between the earth and the moon— 
but it is not to that kind of greatness we allude. Neverthe- 
less, if we try to form a collective picture of the combined 
results of printing down to our own times, does it not appear 
as a huge structure, having the whole world for foundation, 
and the whole human race for its ceaselessly active workmen, 
and whose pinnacles tower up into the impenetrable mist of 
the future? It is the swarming ant-hill of intellectual forces; 
the hive to which all the golden-winged messengers of the 
imagination return, laden with honey. This prodigious edifice 
has a thousand storeys, and remains forever incomplete. The 
press, that giant engine, incessantly absorbing all the intel- 
lectual forces of society, disgorges, as incessantly, new mate- 
rials for its work. The entire human race is on the scaflfold- 
ing ; every mind is a mason. Even the humblest can fill up 
a gap, or lay another brick. Each day another layer is put 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

on. Independently of the individual contribution, there are 
certain collective donations. The eighteenth century presents 
the Encyclopedia, the Revolution the Monitcur. Undoubtedly 
this, too, is a structure, growing and piling itself up in endless 
spiral lines ; here, too, there is confusion of tongues, incessant 
activity, indefatigable labour, a furious contest between the 
whole of mankind, an ark of refuge for the intelligence against 
another deluge, against another influx of barbarism. 
It is the second Tower of Babel. 




A MIGHTY fortunate personage in the year of grace 1482, 
was the noble knight, Robert d'Estouteville, Sieur of Beyne, 
Baron of Ivry and Saint-Andry in the March, Councillor 
and Chamberlain to the King, and Warden of the Provostry' 
of Paris. It was well-nigh seventeen years ago since he had 
received from the King, on November 7, 1465 — the year 
of the comet * — this fine appointment of Provost of Paris, re- 
puted rather a seigneurie than an office. Dignitas, says Joannes 
Loemnoeus, qucr, aim non cxigna potestate politiam concermnte, 
atqiie prcrrogativis mult is et jiiribus conjuncta est.^ It was 
indeed a thing to marvel at that in 1482 a gentleman should 
be holding the King's commission, whose letters of appoint- 
ment dated back to the date of the marriage of a natural 
daughter of Louis XI with Monsieur the Bastard of Bourbon. 
On the same day on which Robert d'Estouteville had replaced 
Jacques de Villiers in the Provostry of Paris, Maitre Jehan 
Dauvet superseded Messire Helye de Thorrettes as Chief 
President of the Court of Parliament, Jehan Jouvenel des 
Ursins supplanted Pierre de Morvilliers in the office of Chan- 
cellor of France, and Regnault des Dormans turned Pierre 
Puy out of the post of Master of Common Pleas to the 

* This comet, for deliverance from which, Pope Calixtus, uncle to 
Borgia, ordered public prayer, is the same which reappeared in 1835. — 
Author's note. 

f A dignity to which is attached no little power in dealing with the 
public safety, together with many prerogatives and rights. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

royal palace. But over how many heads had that Presidency, 
that Chancellorship, and that Mastership passed since Robert 
d'Estouteville held the Provostship of Paris ! It had been 
" given unto his keeping," said the letters patent ; and well 
indeed had he kept the same. He had clung to it, incorpo- 
rated himself into it, had so identified himself with it that he 
had managed to escape that mania for change which so pos- 
sessed Louis XI, a close-fisted, scheming king, who sought 
to maintain, by frequent appointments and dismissals, the 
elasticity of his power. Furthermore, the worthy knight had 
procured the reversion of his post for his son, and for two 
years now the name of the noble M. Jacques d'Estouteville, 
Knight, had figured beside that of his father at the head of 
the roll of the Provostry of Paris — in truth, a rare and signal 
favour ! To be sure, Robert d'Estouteville was a good soldier, 
had loyally raised his banner for the King against the 
" League of the Public ^^'eal," and on the entry of the Queen 
into Paris in 14 — had presented her with a wonderful stag 
composed of confectionery. Besides this, he was on a very 
friendly footing with Messire Tristan I'Hermite, Provost- 
JMarshal of the King's palace. So Messire Robert's existence 
was an easy and pleasant one. First of all, he enjoyed very 
good pay, to which were attached and hanging like extra 
grapes on his vine, the revenues from the civil and criminal 
registries of the Provostry, the revenues, civil and criminal, 
accruing from the auditory courts of the Chatelet, not to 
speak of many a comfortable little toll-due from the bridges 
of Mantes and Corbeil, and the profits from the taxes levied 
on the grain-dealers, as on the measurers of wood and salt. 
Add to this, the pleasure of displaying on his ofificial rides 
through the city — in shining contrast to the party-coloured 
gowns, half red, half tan, of the sheriflfs and district officers — 
his fine military accoutrements, which you may admire to 
this day, sculptured on his tomb in the Valmont Abbey in 
Normandy, and his morion with all the bruises in it got at 
Montlhery. Then, it was no mean thing to have authority 
over the constables of the Palais de Justice, over the warder 
and the Commandant of the Chatelet, the two auditors of the 
Chatelet {auditores Castelleti), the sixteen commissioners of the 
sixteen districts, the jailer of the Chatelet, the four enfeoffed 


Impartial Glance at Ancient Magistracy 

officers of the peace, the hundred and twenty mounted officers 
of the peace, the hundred and twenty officers of the rod, the 
captain of the watch with his patrol, his under-patrol, his 
counter-and-night-patrol. Was it nothing to exercise supreme 
and secondary jurisdiction, to have the right of pillory, hang- 
ing, and dragging at the cart's tail, besides minor jurisdiction 
in the first resort (m prima instantia, as the old charters have 
it) over the whole viscomty of Paris, so gloriously endowed 
with the revenues of seven noble bailiwicks? Can you con- 
ceive of anything more gratifying than to mete out judgment 
and sentence, as Messire Robert d'Estouteville did every day 
in the Grand Chatelet, under the wide, low-pitched Gothic 
arches of Philip Augustus ; and to retire, as he was wont, every 
evening to that charming house in Rue Galilee, within the 
purlieus of the Palais Royal, which he held by right of his 
wife, Dame Ambroise de Lore, where he could rest from the 
fatigues of having sent some poor devil to pass the night on 
his part in that " little cell of the Rue de I'Escorcherie, which 
the provosts and sheriffs of Paris frequently used as a prison — 
the same measuring eleven feet in length, seven feet and four 
inches in width, and eleven feet in height? " * 

And not only had Messire Robert d'Estouteville his special 
jurisdictional offices as Provost of Paris, but also he had his 
seat, with power over life and death, in the King's Supreme 
Court. There was no head of any account but had passed 
through his hands before falling to the executioner. It was 
he who had fetched the Comte de Nemours from the Bastille 
Saint-Antoine, to convey him to the Halles ; he who had 
escorted the Comte de Saint-Pol to the Place de Greve, who 
stormed and wept, to the huge delight of Monsieur the Prov- 
ost, who bore no love to Monsieur the Constable. 

Here, assuredly, was more than sufficient to make a man's 
life happy and illustrious and to merit some day a noteworthy 
page in that interesting chronicle of the Provosts of Paris, 
from which we learn that Oudard de Villeneuve owned a 
house in the Rue des Boucherie, that Guillaume de Hangast 
bought the great and the little Savoie mansion, that Guillaume 
Thiboust gave his houses in the Rue Clopin to the Sisters of 

♦ Crown accounts, 1383. — Author's note. 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

Sainte-Genevieve, that Hugues Aubriot lived in the Hotel du 
Pore-epic, and other facts of a domestic character. 

Nevertheless, in spite of all these reasons for taking life 
easily and pleasantly, Messire Robert d'Estouteville had risen 
on the morning of January 7, 1482, feeling as sulky and 
dangerous in temper as a bear with a sore head ; why, he 
would have been at a loss to say. Was it because the sky 
was gloomy? because the buckle of his old sword-belt — an- 
other relic of Montlhery — was clasped too tight, and girded 
up his fair, round, provostorial port in all too military a 
fashion ? or because he had just seen a band of tattered varlets, 
who had jeered at him as they passed below his windows 
walking four abreast, in doublets without shirts, in hats with- 
out brims, and wallet and bottle hanging at their sides? Or 
was it the vague premonition of the loss of those three hun- 
dred and seventy livres, sixteen sols, eight deniers, of which 
in the following year the future King Charles VIII was going 
to dock the revenues of the Provostry ? The reader may take 
his choice, but for our part we are inclined to the opinion 
that he was in a bad temper because — he was in a bad temper. 

Besides, it was the day after a holiday, a day distasteful 
to everybody, especially to the magistrate whose business it 
was to sweep up all the dirt — literally and figuratively — which 
a Paris holiday inevitably brings with it. Then, too, he was 
to sit that day at the Grand Chatelet ; and we have noticed 
that the judges generally manage that their day of sitting 
shall also be their day of ill-humour, in that they may have 
some one on whom conveniently to vent their spleen in the 
name of the King, justice, and the law. 

The sitting, however, had begun without him. His depu- 
ties in civil, criminal, and private causes were acting for 
him as usual ; and by eight o'clock in the morning, some 
scores of townsfolk, men and women, crowded up between 
the wall and a strong barrier of oak in a dark corner of the 
court of the Chatelet, were blissfully assisting at the varied 
and exhilarating spectacle of the law, civil and criminal, as 
administered by Maitre Florian Barbedienne, examining 
judge at the Chatelet, and deputy for Monsieur the Provost, 
an ofifice he performed in a manner somewhat mixed and 
altogether haphazard. 


Impartial Glance at Ancient Magistracy 

The hall was small, low, and vaulted, furnished at the far 
end with a table figured over with fleur de lis, a great, carved 
oak chair for the Provost, and therefore empty, and a stool 
at the left side for Maitre Florian. Lower down sat the clerk, 
scribbling fast. Opposite to them were the people ; while 
before the door and before the table were stationed a number 
of sergeants of the Provostry, in violet woollen jerkins, with 
white crosses on their breasts. Two sergeants of the Common 
Hall in their " All-Saints " jackets — half red, half blue — stood 
sentinel at a low, closed door which was visible in the back- 
ground behind the table. A solitary Gothic window, deeply 
embedded in the wall, shed the pale light of a January morn- 
ing on two grotesque figures — the whimsical stone devil, 
carved on the keystone of the vaulted ceiling, and the judge 
sitting at the back of the Hall bending over the fleur de lis 
of the table. 

Picture to yourself that figure at the table, leaning on his 
elbows between two bundles of documents, his foot wrapped 
in the tail of his plain brown gown, the face in its frame of 
white lambskin, of which the eye-brows seem to be a piece 
— red, scowling, blinking, carrying with dignity the load of 
fat that met under his chin — and you have Maitre Florian 
Barbedienne, examining judge at the Chatelet. 

Now, Maitre Florian was deaf — rather a drawback for an 
examining judge — but none the less did he mete out judg-- 
ment without appeal and with great propriety. Surely it is 
sufficient that a judge should appear to listen, and the vener- 
able auditor the better filled this condition — the sole essential 
to the good administration of justice — in that his attention 
could not be distracted by any sound. 

However, he had among the onlookers a merciless critic 
of deeds and manners in the person of our friend, Jehan 
Frollo of the Mill, the little scholar of yesterday's scenes, the 
little loafer one was certain to encounter anywhere in Paris, 
save in the lecture-room of the professors. 

" Look," whispered he to his companion, Robin Pousse- 
pain, who sat beside him in fits of suppressed laughter at 
his comments on the scene before them, " why, there's 
Jehanneton du Buisson, the pretty lass of that old lazy-bones 
at the Marche-Neuf! On my soul, he means to fine her, 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

the old dotard ! Fifteen sols, four deniers parisis for wearing 
two rosaries ! That's rather dear ! Lex duri carminis — who's 
this? Robin Chief-de-Ville, hauberk-maker, for being passed 
and admitted a master in the said craft. Ah ! his entrance fee. 
What ! Two gentlemen among this rabble ! Aiglet de Soins, 
Hutin de Mailly, two squires! Corpus Christi! Oh, for 
throwing dice! When shall we see our Rector here, I 
wonder? A fine of a hundred livres parisis to the King! 
Barbedienne lays about him, like a deaf one — as he is. May 
I be my brother the archdeacon, if that shall hinder me from 
playing; from playing by day, and playing by night, living 
at play, dying at play, and staking my soul after I have staked 
my shirt ! Holy Virgin ! what a lot of girls ! One at a time, 
my lambkins! Ambroise Lecuyere, Isabeau la Paynette, 
Berarde Gironin ! By heavens, I know them all ! A fine ! 
a fine ! ten sols parisis ; that'll teach you minxes to wear gilded 
girdles! Oh, the ancient sheep's-head of a judge, deaf and 
doting ! Ah, Florian thou dolt ! Oh, Barbedienne thou 
booby ! Do but look at him there at table — he dines oflf the 
litigant — he dines off the case — he eats — he chews — he gob- 
bles — he fills himself! Fines, unclaimed goods, dues, costs, 
expenses, wages, damages, torture, imprisonment, and pil- 
lory and fetters, and loss of right — all are to him as Christmas 
comfits and midsummer marchpane ! Look at him, the swine ! 
Good ! it begins again. Another light o' love ! Thibaude-la- 
Thibaude, as I live ! For having come out of the Rue Gla- 
tigny ! Who's this young shaver? Gieffroy Mabonne, cross- 
bowman. He blasphemed the name of God the Father. 
Thibaude a fine ! Gieffroy a fine ! A fine for both of them ! 
The deaf old blockhead, he is sure to have mixed up the 
two. Ten to one that he makes the girl pay for the oath, 
and the soldier for the amour ! Attention, Robin Poussepain ! 
Who are they bringing in now ? What a crowd of tip-staffs ! 
By Jupiter, the whole pack of hounds ! This must be the 
grand catch of the day. A wild boar at least. It is one 
Robin ! it is — and a fine specimen too ! Hercules ! it is our 
prince of yesterday, our Pope of Fools, our bell-ringer, our 
hunchback, our grimace ! It is Quasimodo ! " 

It was indeed. 

It was Quasimodo, bound about with cords, tightly pin- 


Impartial Glance at Ancient Magistracy 

ioned, and under a strong guard. The detachment of officers 
surrounding him was led by the Captain of the watch in 
person, with the arms of France embroidered on his breast, 
and those of the City of Paris on his back. However, apart 
from his ugHness, there was nothing about Quasimodo to 
warrant this show of halberds and arquebuses. He was 
moody, silent, and composed, only casting from time to time 
a sullen and angry glance out of his one eye at the cords that 
bound him. He cast this same glance at his surroundings, 
but it was so dazed and drowsy that the women only pointed 
him out in derision to one another. 

Meanwhile, Maitre Florian was busy turning over the 
pages of the charge drawn up against Quasimodo, handed 
to him by the clerk, and, having glanced at it, seemed to 
commune with himself for a moment. Thanks to this pre- 
caution, which he was always careful to employ before pro- 
ceeding with his examination, he knew in advance the name, 
quality, and offence of the delinquent, made prearrangecl 
replies to foreseen questions, and contrived to find his way 
through all the sinuosities of the cross-examination without 
too openly betraying his deafness. The written charge was 
to him as the dog to the blind man. If it happened, now 
and then, that his infirmity became evident through some 
unintelligible address, or some question wide of the mark, 
it passed with some for profundity, and with others for imbe- 
cility. In either case, the honour of the magistracy under- 
went no diminution : better far that a judge should be reputed 
imbecile or profound rather than deaf. He therefore took 
such precautions to conceal his deafness from others, and 
usually succeeded so well, that he had come at last to deceive 
himself on the subject — an easier matter than one might sup- 
pose : for all hunchbacks walk with head erect ; all stammerers 
are fond of talking ; deaf people invariably speak in a whisper. 
For his part, he thought, at most, that perhaps his ear was 
a trifle less quick than other people's. This was the sole con- 
cession he would make to public opinion in his rare moments 
of candour and self-examination. 

Having then ruminated well on Quasimodo's case, he 
threw back his head and half-closed his eyes, by way of 
extra dignity and impartiality, with the result that, for the 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

moment, he was both bHnd and deaf — a twofold condition 
without which no judge is really perfect. 

In this magisterial attitude he commenced his exam- 

"Your name?" 

Now here was a case which had not been " provided for 
by the law " — the interrogation of one deaf person by another 
in similar plight. 

Quasimodo, who had no hint of the fact that he was being 
addressed, continued to regard the judge fixedly, but made 
no reply. The judge, deaf himself, and unaware of the deaf- 
ness of the accused, imagined he had answered, as accused 
persons generally did, and continued with his usual stupid 
and mechanical self-confidence : 

"Very good — your age?" 

Quasimodo made no answer to this question either, but 
the judge, fancying he had done so, went on : 

" Now, your calling? " 

Continued silence. The bystanders, however, began to 
whisper and look at each other. 

" That will do," returned the imperturbable magistrate 
when he concluded that the accused had finished his third 
answer. " You stand charged before us, prinw, with noc- 
turnal disturbance ; sccundo, with unjustifiable violence to the 
person of a light woman, in prcjudicmm nicretricis ; tertio, of 
rebellion and contempt against the archers of our Lord the 
King. Explain yourself on these points. — Clerk, have you 
written down what the accused has said so far?" 

At this unlucky question there was an explosion of laugh- 
ter, beginning with the clerk and spreading to the crowd — 
so violent, so uncontrollable, so contagious, so universal, that 
neither of the deaf men could help perceiving it. Quasimodo 
turned round and shrugged his high shoulders disdainfully, 
while Maitre Florian, as surprised as he, and supposing that 
the laughter of the spectators had been provoked by some 
unseemly reply from the accused, rendered visible to him 
by that shrug, addressed him indignantly : 

" Fellow, that last answer of yours deserves the halter. 
Do you know to whom you are speaking ? " 

This sally was hardly calculated to extinguish the outburst 


Impartial Glance at Ancient Magistracy 

of general hilarity. The thing was so utterly absurd and 
topsy-turvy, that the wild laughter seized even the sergeants 
of the Common Hall, a sort of pikemen whose stolidity was 
part of their uniform. Quasimodo alone preserved his gravity, 
for the very good reason that he had no idea what was occur- 
ring round him. The judge, growing more and more irritated, 
thought it proper to continue in the same tone, hoping 
thereby to strike such terror to the heart of the prisoner as 
would react on the audience and recall them to a sense of 
due respect. 

" It would seem, then, headstrong and riotous knave that 
you are, that you would dare to flout the auditor of the 
Chatelet ; the magistrate entrusted with the charge of the 
public safety of Paris; whose duty it is to search into all 
crimes, delinquencies, and evil courses ; to control all trades 
and forbid monopolies ; to repair the pavements ; to prevent 
the retail hawking of poultry and game, both feathered and 
furred ; to superintend the measuring of firewood and all otheY 
kinds of wood ; to purge the city of filth, and the air of all 
contagious distemper — in a word, to slave continually for the 
public welfare without fee or recompense, or hope of any. 
Know you that my name is Florian Barbedienne, deputy to 
Monsieur the Provost himself, and, moreover, commissioner, 
investigator, controller, and examiner, with equal power in 
provostry, bailiwick, registration, and presidial court " 

There is no earthly reason why a deaf man talking to a 
deaf man should ever stop. God alone knows where and 
when Maitre Florian would have come to anchor, once 
launched in full sail on the ocean of his eloquence, had not 
the low door at the back of the hall suddenly opened, and 
given passage to Monsieur the Provost in person. 

At his entrance Maitre Florian did not stop, but wheel- 
ing half round, and suddenly aiming at the Provost the 
thunder-bolts which up to now he had launched at Quasi- 
modo : 

" Monseigneur," he said, " I demand such penalty as shall 
seem fitting to you against the accused here present for 
flagrant and unprecedented contempt of court." 

He seated himself breathless, wiping away the great drops 
that fell from his forehead and splashed like tears upon the 


Notre-Dame dc Paris 

documents spread out before him. Messire Robert d'Es- 
touteville knit his brows and signed to Quasimodo with a 
gesture so imperious and significant, that the deaf hunchback 
in some degree understood. 

The Provost addressed him sternly : " What hast thou 
done, rascal, to be brought hither?" 

The poor wretch, supposing that the Provost was asking 
his name, now broke his habitual silence and answered in 
hoarse, guttural tones, " Quasimodo." 

The answer corresponded so little with the question that 
the former unbridled merriment threatened to break out again, 
and Messire Robert, crimson with anger, roared, " Dost dare 
to mock me too, arch-rogue ? " 

" Bell-ringer of Notre-Dame," continued Quasimodo, 
thinking that he must explain to the judges who he was. 

" Bell-ringer ! " returned the Provost, who, as we know, 
had risen that morning in so vile a temper that there w^as 
no need to add fresh fuel to the fire by such unwarrantable 
impudence. " Bell-ringer indeed ! They shall ring a carillon 
of rods on thy back at every street corner of Paris. Hearest 
thou, rascal ? " 

" If it is my age you desire to know," said Quasimodo, 
" I think I shall be twenty come Martinmas." 

This was going too far; the Provost could contain him- 
self no longer. 

" Ha, miserable knave, thou thinkest to make sport of the 
law! Sergeant of the rod, you will take this fellow to the 
pillory in the Greve and there flog him and turn him for an 
hour. He shall pay for this, tcte-Dicu! And I command that 
this sentence be proclaimed by means of the four legally 
appointed trumpeters at the seven castellanies of the jurisdic- 
tion of Paris." 

The clerk proceeded forthwith to put the sentence on 

" Ventre-Dien! I call that giving judgment in good 
style!" said little Jehan Frollo of the Mill, from his secluded 

The Provost turned and again transfixed Quasimodo with 
blazing eye. " I believe the rascal said ' Vcntrc-Dieu! ' Clerk, 
you will add twelve deniers parisis as a fine for swearing, and 


Impartial Glance at Ancient Magistracy 

let one-half of it go to the Church of Saint-Eustache. I have 
a particular devotion for Saint-Eustache." 

A few minutes later and the sentence was drawn up. The 
language was brief and simple. The legal procedure of the 
Provostry and bailiwick of Paris had not yet been elaborated 
by the President, Thibaut Baillet, and Roger Barmne, King's 
advocate, and therefore not yet obscured by that forest of 
chicanery and circumlocution planted in it by these two law- 
yers at the beginning of the sixteenth century. All was still 
clear, rapid, and to the point. There was no beating about 
the bush, and straight before you, at the end of every path, 
you had a full view of the wheel, the gibbet, or the pillory. 
You knew, at least, exactly where you were. 

The clerk presented the sentence to the Provost, who 
affixed his seal to it and then departed, to continue his round 
through the several courts of law, in a frame of mind which 
seemed likely, for that day, to fill every jail in Paris. Jehan 
Frollo and Robin Poussepain were laughing in their sleeve, 
while Quasimodo regarded the whole scene with an air of 
surprise and indifiference. 

Nevertheless, the clerk, while Maitre Florian was engaged 
in reading over the judgment before signing it in his turn, 
felt some qualms of compassion for the poor devil under 
sentence, and in the hope of obtaining some mitigation of 
his penalties, bent as near as he could to the examiner's ear, 
and said, pointing to Quasimodo, " The man is deaf." 

He hoped that the knowledge of a common infirmity 
would awaken Maitre Florian's interest in favour of the con- 
demned. But in the first place, as we have already explained, 
Maitre Florian did not like to have his deafness commented 
upon ; and secondly, that he was so hard of hearing that he 
did not catch one word the clerk was saying. Desiring, how- 
ever, to conceal this fact, he replied : " Ah ! that makes all the 
difference. I did not know that. In that case, one more hour 
of pillory for him." And, this modification made, he signed 
the sentence. 

" And serve him right too," said Robin Poussepain, who 
still owed Quasimodo a grudge ; " that'll teach him to handle 
folks so roughly." 


Notre-Dame de Paris 



With the reader's permission we will now return to the 
Place de Greve, which was quitted yesterday with Gringoire, 
to follow Esmeralda. 

It is ten in the morning, and everywhere are the unmis- 
takable signs of the day after a public holiday. The ground 
is strewn with debris of every description, ribbons, rags, 
plumes, drops of wax from the torches, scraps from the public 
feast. A good many of the townsfolk are " loafing about " — 
as we would say to-day — turning over the extinguished brands 
of the bonfire, standing in front of the Maison aux Piliers 
rapturously recalling the fine hangings of the day before, and 
gazing now at the nails which fastened them — last taste of 
vanished joy — while the venders of beer and cider roll their 
casks among the idle groups. A few pass to and fro, intent 
on business ; the tradespeople gossip and call to one another 
from their shop doors. The Festival, the Ambassadors, Cop- 
penole, the Pope of Fools, are in every mouth, each vying 
with the other as to who shall make the wittiest comments 
and laugh the loudest ; while four mounted officers of the 
peace, who have just posted themselves at the four corners 
of the pillory, have already drawn away a considerable por- 
tion of the idlers scattered about the square, who cheerfully 
submit to any amount of tediousness and waiting, in expecta- 
tion of a little exhibition of Justice. 

If now, after contemplating this stirring and clamorous 
scene which is being enacted at every corner of the Place, 
the reader will turn his attention towards the ancient building 
— half Gothic, half Romanesque — called the Tour-Roland, 
forming the western angle of the quay, he will notice, at one 
of its corners, a large, richly illuminated breviary for the use 
of the public, protected from the rain by a small pent-house 
and from thieves by a grating, which, however, allows of the 
passer-by turning over the leaves. Close beside this breviary 
is a narrow, pointed window looking on to the square and 
closed by an iron cross-bar, the only aperture by which a 


The Rat-Hole 

little air and light can penetrate to a small, doorless cell con- 
structed on the level of the ground within the thickness of 
the wall of the old mansion and filled with a quiet the more 
profound, a silence the more oppressive, that a public square, 
the noisiest and most populous in Paris, is swarming and 
clamouring round it. 

This cell has been famous in Paris for three centuries, 
ever since Mme. Rolande of the Tour-Roland, mourning 
for her father who died in the Crusades, had caused it to be 
hollowed out of the wall of her house and shut herself up 
in it forever; retaining of all her great mansion but this one 
poor chamber, the door of which was walled up and the 
window open to the elements winter and summer, and giving 
the rest of her possessions to the poor and to God. The 
inconsolable lady had lingered on for twenty years awaiting 
death in this premature tomb, praying night and day for the 
soul of her father, making her bed on the cold ground with- 
out even a stone for a pillow, clothed in sackcloth, and living 
only upon such bread and water as the compassionate might 
deposit on the ledge of her window — thus receiving charity 
after bestowing it. At her death, at the moment of her pass- 
ing to another sepulchre, she had bequeathed this one in per- 
petuity to women in afifliction — mothers, widows, or maidens 
— who should have many prayers to offer up on behalf of oth- 
ers or of themselves, and should choose to bury themselves 
alive for some great grief or some great penitence. The poor 
of her time had honoured her funeral with_(tears knd benedic- 
tions ; but, to their great regret, the pious laay had been unable 
to receive canonization for lack of interest in the right quarter. 
Nevertheless, those among them who were not quite so pious 
as they should have been, trusting that the matter might be 
more easily arranged in heaven than in Rome, had frankly 
oflfered up their prayers for the deceased to God himself, in 
default of the Pope. The majority, however, had contented 
themselves with holding Rolande's memory sacred, and con- 
verting her rags into relics. The town, for its part, had 
founded, in pursuance of the lady's intention, a public breviary, 
which had been permanently fixed beside the window of the 
cell, that the passer-by might halt there for a moment, if only 
to pray; that prayer might suggest almsgiving, and thus the 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

poor recluses, inheriting the stone cell of Mme. Rolande, 
be saved from perishing- outright of hunger and neglect. 

These living tombs were by no means rare in the cities 
of the Middle Ages. Not infrequently, in the very midst of 
the busiest street, the most crowded, noisy market-place, 
under the very hoofs of the horses and wheels of the wagons, 
you might come upon a vault, a pit, a walled and grated 
cell, out of the depths of which a human being, voluntarily 
dedicated to some everlasting lamentation, or some great 
expiation, offered up prayer unceasingly day and night. But 
all the reflections that such a strange spectacle w^ould awaken 
in us at the present day ; that horrible cell, a sort of inter- 
mediate link between the dwelling and the grave, between 
the cemetery and the city ; that living being cut off from 
the communion of mankind and already numbered with the 
dead ; that lamp consuming its last drop of oil in the dark- 
ness ; that remnant of life flickering out in the pit ; that 
whisper, that voice, that never-ending prayer encased in stone : 
that eye already ilkmiined by another sun ; that ear inclined 
attentive to the walls of a tomb; that soul imprisoned in a 
body, itself a prisoner within that dungeon, and from out 
that double incarnation of flesh and stone, the perpetual plaint 
of a soul in agony — nothing of all this reached the apprehen- 
sion of the crowd. The piety of that day, little given to 
analyzing or subtle reasoning, did not regard a religious act 
from so many points of view. It accepted the thing as a whole, 
honoured, lauded, and, if need be, made a saint of the sacrifice, 
but did not dwell upon its sufferings nor even greatly pity 
it. From time to time the charitable world brought some 
dole to the wretched penitent, peered through the window 
to see if he yet lived, was ignorant of his name, scarcely 
knew how many years ago he had begun to die, and to the 
stranger who questioned them respecting the living skeleton 
rotting in that cave, they would simply answer : " It is the 

This was the way they looked at things in those days, 
without metaphysics, neither enlarging nor diminishing, with 
the naked eye. The microscope had not been invented yet 
for the examination either of material or spiritual objects. 

Examples of this kind of living burial in the heart of the 


The Rat-Hole 

town were, although they excited but Httle remark, fre- 
quently to be met with, as we have said before. In Paris 
there was a considerable number of these cells of penitence 
and prayer, and nearly all of them were occupied. It is true 
the clergy took particular care that they should not be left 
empty, as that implied lukewarmness in the faithful ; so when 
penitents were not to the fore, lepers were put in instead. 
Besides the cell at the Greve, already described, there was 
one at Montfaucon, one at the charnel-house of the Inno- 
cents, another, I forget just where — at the Logis-Clichon, I 
fancy ; and others at many different spots, where, in default 
of monuments, their traces are still to be found in tradition. 
The University certainly had one ; on the hill of Saint-Germain 
a sort of mediaeval Job sat for thirty years, singing the peni- 
tential psalms on a dung-heap at the bottom of a dry well, 
beginning anew as soon as he came to the end, and singing 
louder in the night-time — magna voce per wnbras; and to- 
day the antiquary still fancies that he hears his voice as he 
enters the Rue du Puits-qui-parle : the street of the Talking 

To confine ourselves here to the cell in the Tour-Roland, 
we confess that it had seldom lacked a tenant — since Mme. 
Rolande's death it had rarely been vacant, even for a year 
or two. Many a woman had shut herself up there to weep 
until death for her parents, her lovers, or her frailties. Paris- 
ian flippancy, which will meddle with everything, especially 
with such as are outside its province, declared that very few 
widows had been observed among the number. 

After the manner of the period, a Latin legend inscribed 
upon the wall notified to the lettered wayfarer the pious pur- 
pose of the cell. This custom of placing a brief distinguish- 
ing motto above the entrance to a building continued down 
to the middle of the sixteenth century. Thus, in France, over 
the gateway of the prison belonging to the Manor-house of 
Tourville, stands, Sileto et spera; in Ireland, under the 
escutcheon above the great gateway of Fortescue Castle, 
Forte scutum, salus ducwn ; and in England, over the principal 
entrance of the hospitable mansion of the Earls Cowper, 
Tiium est. For in those days every edifice expressed a 
special meaning. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

As there was no door to the walled-up cell of the Tour- 
Roland, they had engraved above the window in great Roman 
characters the two words : 

TU, ORA * 

Whence it came about that the people, whose healthy- 
common sense fails to see the subtle side of things, and 
cheerfully translates Lndovko Magno by Porte Saint-Denis, 
had corrupted the words over this dark, damp, gloomy cavity 
into Trou-anx-rats, or Rat-Hole — a rendering less sublime per- 
haps than the original ; but, on the other hand, decidedly more 



At the time at which the events of this story occurred, the 
cell of the Tour-Roland was occupied, and if the reader 
desires to know by whom, he has only to listen to the con- 
versation of three worthy gossips, who, at the moment when 
we attracted his attention to the Rat-Hole, were directing 
their steps to that very spot, going along the river-side from 
the Chatelet towards the Place de Greve. 

Two of these w'omen were dressed after the fashion of the 
good burgher wives of Paris ; their fine white gorgets, striped 
red and blue woollen kirtles, white knitted hose with em- 
broidered clocks, trimly puUed up over their legs, their square- 
toed shoes of tan-coloured leather with black soles, and above 
all, their head-dress — a sort of tinsel-covered horn, loaded with 
ribbons and lace, still worn by the women of Champagne, 
and the Grenadiers of the Russian imperial guard — proclaimed 
them to belong to that class of rich tradeswomen who hold 
the medium between what servants call " a woman " and 
what they call " a lady." They wore neither rings nor gold 
crosses ; but it was easy to perceive that this was owing not 

* Pray thou. 

The Story of a Wheaten Cake 

to poverty, but simply out of fear of the fine incurred by so 
doing. Their companion's dress was very much the same ; 
but there was in her appearance and manner an indefinable 
something which betrayed the wife of the country notary. 
Her way of wearing her girdle so high above her hips would 
alone have proved that it was long since she had been in 
Paris, without mentioning that her gorget was plaited, that 
she wore knots of ribbon on her shoes, that the stripes of 
her kirtle ran round instead of down, and a dozen other 
crimes against the prevailing mode. 

The first two walked with that air peculiar to Parisiennes 
showing the town to country cousins. The countrywoman 
held by the hand a chubby little boy, who in his hand held 
a big wheaten cake — and we regret to have to add that, owing 
to the inclemency of the weather, he was using his tongue 
as a pocket-handkerchief. 

The boy let himself be dragged along — non passibus ceqtiis, 
as Virgil says — with uneven steps, stumbling every minute, 
to the great annoyance of his mother. It is true that he 
looked oftener at the cake than on the ground. Some very 
serious reason must have prevented him from biting into 
the cake, for he contented himself with merely gazing at it 
affectionately. But the mother would have done better to 
take charge of the tempting morsel herself. It was cruel to 
make a Tantalus of poor chubby-cheeks. 

Meanwhile, the three " damoiselles " (for the title of 
" dame " was reserved then for the women of noble birth) 
were all talking at once. 

" We must hasten, Damoiselle Mahiette," said the young- 
est of the three, who was also the fattest, to their country 
friend. " I fear me we shall be too late. They told us at 
the Chatelet that he was to be carried to the pillory 

" Ah — bah ! What are you talking about, Damoiselle 
Oudarde Musnier?" returned the other Parisienne. "He 
will be a good two hours on the pillory. We have plenty 
of time. Have you ever seen anybody pilloried, my dear 

" Yes," said Mahiette, " at Reims." 

" Pooh ! what's your pillory at Reims ? A paltr>' cage 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

where they put nobody but clowns ! That's not worth calling 
. a pillory ! " 

" Nobody but clowns ! " cried Mahiette. " In the Cloth- 
Market at Reims ! Let me tell you, we have had some very 
fine criminals there — who had killed father and mother ! 
Clowns indeed! What do you take me for, Gervaise?" 

And there is no doubt the country lady was on the point 
of flying into a rage for this disparagement of her pillory, 
but fortunately the discreet Damoiselle Oudarde Musnier 
turned the conversation in time. 

" By-the-bye, Damoiselle Mahiette, what think you of our 
Flemish Ambassadors ? Have you any as grand at Reims ? " 

" I must confess," answered Mahiette, " that it's only in 
Paris you see such Flemings as these." 

" Did you see among the embassy that great Ambassador 
who's a hosier?" asked Oudarde. 

" Yes," said Mahiette, " he looks like a Saturn." 

" And that fat one, with a face like a bare paunch," Ger- 
vaise went on ; " and the little one, with small, blinking eyes 
and red eye-lids with half the lashes pulled out like a with- 
ered thistle?" 

" But their horses are a treat to look at," said Oudarde, 
" all dressed after the fashion of their country ! " 

" Ah, my dear," interrupted country Mahiette, assuming 
in her turn an air of superiority, " what would you have said 
then, if you had seen the horses of the Princess and the whole 
retinue of the King at the coronation at Reims in '6i — 
twenty-one years ago ! Such housings and caparisons ! 
Some of Damascus cloth, fine cloth of gold, and lined with 
sable fur ; others of velvet and ermine ; others heavy with 
goldsmith's work and great tassels of gold and silver! And 
the money that it must all have cost ! And the beautiful 
pages riding them ! " 

" But for all that," replied Damoiselle Oudarde dryly, 
" the Flemings have splendid horses ; and yesterday a sump- 
tuous supper was given them by Monsieur the Provost- 
Merchant at the H6tel-de-Ville, at which sweetmeats, and 
hippocras, and spices, and the like delicacies, were set before 

" What are you saying, neighbour ! " exclaimed Gervaise. 


The Story of a Wheaten Cake 

" Why, it was with the Lord Cardinal, at the Petit-Bourbon, 
that the Flemings supped." 

" Not at all ! At the H6tel-de-Ville ! " 

" No, it wasn't — it was at the Petit-Bourbon." 

" I know that it was at the H6tel-de-Ville," retorted 
Oudarde sharply, " for the very good reason that Doctor 
Scourable made them a speech in Latin, with which they 
were very well satisfied. My husband told me, and he is one 
of the sworn booksellers." 

" And I know that it was at the Petit-Bourbon," responded 
Gervaise no less warmly, " for I can tell you exactly what my 
Lord Cardinal's purveyor set before them : twelve double 
quarts of hippocras, white, pale, and red ; twenty-four boxes of 
gilded double marchpanes of Lyons ; four-and-twenty wax 
torches of two pounds apiece ; and six demi-hogsheads of 
Beaune wine, both white and yellow, the best that could be 
procured. I hope that's proof enough ! I have it from my 
husband, who's Captain of the fifty guards at the Chatelet, 
who only this morning was making a comparison between the 
Flemish Ambassadors and those of Prester John and the 
Emperor of Trebizonde, who came to Paris from Meso- 
potamia and wore rings in their ears." 

" So true is it that they supped at the Hotel de Ville," 
replied Oudarde, quite unmoved by this string of evidence, 
" that never was seen so fine a show of meats and delicacies." 

" I tell you they were served by Le Sec, the town ser- 
geant at the Petit-Bourbon, and that is what has put 
you wrong." 

" At the H6tel-de-Ville, I say." 

" At the Petit-Bourbon, my dear ! And what's more, 
they lit up the word ' Hope,' which stands over the great 
doorway, with fairy glasses." 

"At the H6tel-de-Ville ! At the H6tel-de-Ville !— for 
Husson le Voir played the flute to them." 

" I tell you, no ! " 

" I tell you, yes ! " 

" I tell you, no ! " 

The good, fat Oudarde was preparing to reply, and the 
quarrel would no doubt have ended in the pulling of caps, 
had not Mahiette suddenly made a diversion by exclaiming: 
K 207 Vol. 4 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

" Look at those people gathered over there at the end 
of the bridge. There's something in the middle of the crowd 
that they're looking at." 

" True," said Gervaise. " I hear a tambourine. I think 
it must be little Esmeralda doing tricks with her goat. Quick, 
Mahiette, mend your pace and bring your boy ! You came 
to see the sights of Paris. Yesterday you saw the Flemings ; 
to-day you must see the gipsy." 

" The gipsy ! " cried Mahiette, turning round and clutching 
her boy by the arm. " God preserve us ! She might steal 
my child ! Come, Eustache ! " 

And she set ofif running along the quay towards the Greve 
till she had left the bridge far behind her. Presently the boy, 
whom she dragged rapidly after her, stumbled and fell on 
his knees. She drew up breathless, and Oudarde and Ger- 
vaise were able to join her. 

" That gipsy steal your child ! " said Gervaise. " What a 
very strange notion ! " 

Mahiette shook her head thoughtfully, 

" The strange thing about it," observed Oudarde, " is 
that the sachdte has the same notion about the Egyptian 

"The sachette?" asked Mahiette. "What is that?" 

" Why, Sister Gudule, to be sure," answered Oudarde. 

" And who is Sister Gudule ? " 

" It is very evident that you have lived in Reims not 
to know that ! " exclaimed Oudarde. " That is the nun in 
the Rat-Hole." 

" What ? " said Mahiette, " not the poor woman we are 
taking this cake to?" 

Oudarde nodded. " Yes, the very one. You will see her 
directly at her window looking on the Greve. She thinks 
the same as you about these vagabonds of Egypt that go 
about with their tambourines and fortune-telling. Nobody 
knows why she has this abhorrence of Zingari and Egyptians. 
But you, Mahiette, why should you run away at the mere 
sight of them ? " 

" Oh," answered Mahiette, clasping her boy's fair head 
to her bosom, " I would not have that happen to me that 
happened to Paquette la Chantefleurie." 


The Story of a Wheaten Cake 

" Oh, you must tell us that story, my good Mahiette," said 
Gervaise, taking her arm. 

" Willingly," returned Mahiette, " but it is very evident 
that you have lived in Paris not to know it ! Well, you 
must know — but there is no need for us to stand still while 
I tell you the story — that Paquette la Chantefleurie was a 
pretty girl of eighteen when" n6o was" ^fie^—^that is to say, 
eighteen years ago — and has had only herself to blame if 
she's not, like me, a buxom, hearty woman of six-and-thirty, 
with a husband and a fine bov. But there! — from the time 
she was fourteen it was too late! I must tell you, then, that 
she was the daughter of Guybertaut, a boat-minstrel at 
Reims, the same that played before King Charles VII at 
his coronation, when he went down our river Vesle from 
Sillery to Muison, and had Mme, la Pucelle — the Maid of 
Orleans — in the same boat with him. The old father died 
when Paquette was quite little, so she had only her mother, 
who was sister to M. Pradon, a master-brasier and tinsmith 
in Paris, Rue Parin-Garlin, and who died last year — so you 
see, she was of good family. The mother was a simple, easy- 
going creature, unfortunately, and never taught her anything 
really useful — just a little needlework and toy-making, which 
did not prevent her growing tall and strong, and remaining 
very poor. They lived together at Reims, by the river-side, 
in the Rue de Folle-Peine — mark that ! — for I believe that 
is what brought trouble to Paquette. Well, in '6i — the 
year of the Coronation of our King Louis XI, whom God 
preserve ! — Paquette was so gay and so fair that she was 
known far and wide as ' La Chantefleurie ' — poor girl ! She 
had pretty teeth, and she was fond of laughing, to show them. 
Now, a girl who is overfond of laughing is well on the way 
to tears ; pretty teeth are the ruin of pretty eyes — and thus 
it befell Chantefleurie. She and her mother had a hard 
struggle to gain a living; they had sunk very low since 
the father's death — their needlework brought them in barely 
six deniers a week, which is not quite two Hards. Time was 
when Guybertaut had got twelve sols parisis at a coronation 
for a single song ! One winter — it was that same year of '6i 
— the two women had not a log or a fagot, and it was very 
cold, and this gave Chantefleurie such a beautiful colour in 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

her cheeks that the men all looked after her and she was 
ruined. — Eustache ! just let me see you take a bite out of that 
cake ! — We saw in a moment that she was ruined when one 
Sunday she came to church with a gold cross on her neck. 
At fourteen — what do you say to that? The first was the 
young Vicomte de Cormontreuil, whose castle is about three- 
quarters of a mile from Reims ; then it was Messire Henri 
de Triancourt, the King's outrider ; then, coming down the 
scale, Chiart de Beaulion, a man-at-arms ; then, still lower, 
Guery Aubergeon, king's carver; then Mace de Frepus, 
barber to Monsieur the Dauphin ; then Thevenin le Moine, 
one of the royal cooks ; then, still going down, from the 
young to the old, from high to low birth, she fell to Guil- 
laume Racine, viol player, and to Thierry de Mer, lamp-maker. 
After that, poor Chantefleurie, she became all things to all 
men and had come to her last sou. What think you, damoi- 
selles, at the coronation, in that same year '6i, it was she 
who made the bed for the chief of the bawdies ! — in that same 
year ! " Mahiette sighed and wiped away a tear. 

" But I see nothing so very extraordinary in this story," 
said Gervaise, " and there is no word either of Egyptians 
or children." 

" Patience," returned Mahiette ; " as for the child, I am 
just coming to that. In '66, sixteen years ago this month, 
on Saint-Paul's day, Paquette was brought to bed of a little 
girl. Poor creature, she was overjoyed — she had long craved 
to have a child. Her mother, foolish woman, who had never 
done anything but close her eyes to what was going on, 
her mother was dead. Paquette had no one in the world to 
love or to love her. For the five years since she had fallen, 
poor Paquette had been a miserable creature. She was alone, 
all alone in the world, pointed at, shouted at through the 
streets, beaten by the sergeants, and jeered at by little ragged 
boys. Besides, she was already twenty, and twenty means 
old age for a courtesan. Her frailty now began to bring 
her in no more than did her needlework formerly : for every 
line in her face she lost a crown in her pocket. Winter came 
hard to her again, wood was growing scarce in her fire-place 
and bread in her cupboard. She could not work, because, by 
giving way to pleasure she had given way to idleness, and 


The Story of a Wheaten Cake 

she felt hardships the more because by giving way to idleness 
she had given way to pleasure. At least, that is how Monsieur 
the Cure of Saint-Remy explains why those sort of women 
feel cold and hunger more than other poor females do when 
they get old." 

"Yes," observed Gervaise, "but about these gipsies?" 

" Wait a moment, Gervaise," said Oudarde, who was of 
a less impatient temperament; "what should we have at the 
end if everything was at the beginning? Go on, Mahiette, 
I pray you. Alas, poor Chantefleurie ! " 

" Well," Mahiette continued, " so she was very sad and 
very wretched, and her cheeks grew hollow with her per- 
petual tears. But in all her shame, her infamy, her loneliness, 
she felt she would be less ashamed, less infamous, less de- 
serted, if only there was something or somebody in the world 
she could love, or that would love her. She knew it would 
have to be a child, for only a child could be ignorant 
enough for that. This she had come to see after trying to 
love a robber — the only man who would have anything to do 
with her — but in a little while she found that even the robber 
despised her. These light-o'-loves must needs always have 
a lover or a child to fill their hearts, or they are most unhappy. 
As she could not get a lover, all her desire turned towards 
having a child ; and, as she had all along been pious, she 
prayed unceasingly to God to send her one. So God took 
compassion on her and sent her a little girl. I will not try 
to describe to you her joy — it was a passion of tears and 
kisses and caresses. She suckled it herself, and made swad- 
dling-bands for it out of her coverlet — the only one she had 
upon her bed, but now she felt neither cold nor hunger. 
Her beauty came back to her — an old maid makes a young 
mother — and poor Chantefleurie went back to her old trade 
and found customers for her wares, and laid out the wages 
of her sin in swaddling-clothes and bibs and tuckers, lace 
robes, and little satin caps — without so much as a thought 
for a new coverlet for herself. 

" Master Eustache, did I not tell you not to eat that cake ? 
— In truth, the little Agnes, that was the child's name — its 
baptismal name, for, as to a surname, it was long since 
Chantefleurie had lost hers — in very truth, the little one was 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

more of a mass of ribbons and broideries than ever a dau- 
phiness of Dauphiny ! Among other things, she had a pair of 
little shoes such as King Louis himself never had the like. 
Her mother had stitched them and embroidered them herself, 
bestowing upon them all her art and the ornament that ought 
more properly to belong to a robe for Our Lady. In good 
sooth, they were the prettiest little rose-coloured shoes that 
ever were seen ; no longer at most than my thumb, and 
unless you saw the babe's little feet come out of them, you 
never would have believed that they could get in. To be 
sure the little feet were so small, so pretty, so rosy ! — rosier 
than the satin of the shoes ! When you have children of your 
own, Oudarde, you will know that there is nothing in the 
world so pretty as those little hands and feet." 

" I ask nothing better," said Oudarde with a sigh ; " but 
I must await the good pleasure of M. Andry Musnier." 

" However," resumed Mahiette, " pretty feet were not the 
only beauty that Paquette's child possessed. I saw her when 
she was four months old — a chuck ! — with eyes bigger than 
her mouth, and beautiful soft, black hair that curled already. 
She would have made a fine brunette at sixteen ! Her mother 
loved her more day by day. She hugged and kissed and 
fondled her, washed her, tricked her out in all her finery, 
devoured her — one moment half-crazed, the next thanking 
God for the gift of this babe. But its pretty rosy feet were 
her chief delight and wonder — a very delirium of joy ! She 
was forever pressing her lips to them, forever marvelling at 
their smallness. She would put them into the little shoes, take 
them out again, wonder at them, hold them up to the light ; 
she was sorry even to teach them to take a step or two on 
her bed, and would gladly have passed the rest of her life 
on her knees, covering and uncovering those little feet, like 
those of an Infant Jesus." 

"The tale is all very well," said Gervaise, half to herself; 
" but where is Egypt in all this ? " 

" Here," replied Mahiette. " One day there came to 
Reims some very outlandish sort of gentry — beggars and 
vagabonds — wandering about the country, led by their dukes 
and counts. Their faces were sun-burnt, their hair all curling, 
and they had silver rings in their ears. The women were 


The Story of a Wheaten Cake 

even more ill-favoured than the men. Their faces were 
blacker and always uncovered, their only clothing an old 
woollen cloth tied over their shoulders, and a sorry rocket 
under that, and the hair hanging loose like a horse's tail. The 
children that scrambled about between their feet would have 
frightened the monkeys. An excommunicated band ! They 
had come direct from Lower Egypt to Reims by way of Po- 
land, The Pope had confessed them, so they said, and had laid 
on them the penance of wandering for seven years through the 
world without ever sleeping in a bed. So they called them- 
selves penitents and stank most horribly. It would seem they 
had formerly been Saracens, and that is why they believed in 
Jupiter, and demanded ten livres tournois from all Arch- 
bishops, Bishops, and Abbots endowed with crosier and mitre. 
It was a bull of the Pope that got them that. They came 
to Reims to tell fortunes in the name of the King of Algiers, 
and the Emperor of Germany. As you may suppose, that 
was quite enough for them to be forbidden to enter the town. 
Then the whole band encamped without demur near the 
Braine gate, upon that mound where there's a wind-mill, 
close by the old chalk-pits. And of course all Reims was 
agog to see them. They looked in your hand, and prophesied 
most wonderful things — they were quite bold enough to have 
foretold to Judas that he would be Pope. At the same time, 
there were ugly stories about them — of stolen children, and 
cutpurses, and the eating of human flesh. The prudent 
warned the foolish, and said, ' Go not near them!' and then 
went themselves by stealth. Everybody was carried away by 
it. In sober truth, they told you things to have amazed a 
Cardinal ! The mothers made much of their children after 
the gipsy women had read in their hands all manner of 
miracles written in Pagan and in Turkish. One had an 
Emperor, another a Pope, a third a Captain. Poor Chante- 
fleurie caught the fever of curiosity. She wanted to know 
vv'hat she had got, and whether her pretty little Agnes would 
not one day be Empress of Armenia or the like. So she 
carried her to the Egyptians, and the Egyptian women ad- 
mired the child, fondled it, kissed it with their black mouths, 
and were lost in wonder over its little hands — alas ! to the 
great joy of its mother. Above all, they were delighted with 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

its pretty feet and pretty shoes. The child was not yet a 
year old, and was just beginning to prattle a word or two — 
laughed and crowed at her mother — was fat and round, and 
had a thousand little gestures of the angels in Paradise. The 
child was frightened at the black gipsy woman, and cried ; but 
the mother only kissed her the more, and carried her away, 
overjoyed at the good fortune the prophetess had foretold to 
her Agnes. She would become a famous beauty — a wonder 
— a queen. So she returned to her garret in the Rue Folle- 
Peine, proud to bring back with her a queen. The next day 
she seized a moment when the child was asleep on her bed — 
for it always slept with her — ^left the door ajar, and ran to 
tell a neighbour in the Rue de la Sechesserie that the day 
would come when her daughter Agnes would be served at her 
table by the King of England and the Duke of Ethiopia, and 
a hundred other surprises. On her return, hearing no sound 
as she mounted her stair, she said, ' Good, the child is still 
asleep.' She found the door more open than she had left it ; 
she entered, and ran to the bed — poor mother ! — the child was 
gone, the place empty. There was no trace left of the child, 
excepting one of its little shoes. She fled out of the room 
and down the stairs and began beating her head against the 
wall, crying : * My child ! Who has my child ? Who has 
taken my child from me ? ' The street was empty, the house 
stood by itself, no one could tell her anything. She hastened 
through the city, searching every street, running hither and 
thither the whole day, mad, distraught, terrible to behold, 
looking in at every door and every window like a wild beast 
robbed of its young. She was breathless, dishevelled, terri- 
fying, with a flame in her eyes that dried her tears. She 
stopped the passers-by and cried, ' My child ! my child ! my 
pretty little girl ! To him who will restore my child to me I 
will be a servant, the servant of his dog — and he may eat my 
heart if he will ! ' She met Monsieur the Cure of Saint- 
Remy, and to him she said : ' Monsieur the Cure, I will dig 
the earth with my nails, but give me back my child ! ' 
Oudarde, it was heart-rending, and I saw a very hard man, 
Maitre Ponce Lacabre the attorney, shedding tears. Ah, 
the poor mother! At night she returned to her home. Dur- 
ing her absence, a neighbour had seen two Egyptian women 


The Story of a Wheaten Cake 

steal up her stair with a bundle in their arms, then come 
down again after closing the door, and hasten away. After- 
ward she had heard something that sounded like a child's cry 
from Paquette's room. The mother broke into mad laughter, 
sprang up the stair as if she had wings, burst open the door 
like an explosion of artillery, and entered the room. Horrible 
to relate, Oudarde, instead of her sweet little Agnes, so rosy 
and fresh, a gift from Heaven, a sort of hideous little mon- 
ster, crippled, one-eyed, all awry, was crawling and whim- 
pering on the floor. She covered her eyes in horror. 

" ' Ah ! ' she cried, ' can these sorceresses have changed 
my little girl into this frightful beast ? ' They removed the 
misshapen lump as quickly as possible out of her sight ; it 
would have driven her mad. It was a boy, the monstrous 
offspring of some Egyptian woman and the Foul Fiend, about 
four years old, and speaking a language like no human 
tongue, impossible to understand. La Chantefleurie had 
thrown herself upon the little shoe, all that remained to her of 
her heart's delight, and lay so long motionless, without a word 
or a breath, that we thought she was dead. But suddenly 
her whole body began to tremble, and she fell to covering 
her relic with frantic kisses, sobbing the while as if her 
heart would break. I do assure you, we were all weeping 
with her as she cried : ' Oh, my little girl ! my pretty little 
girl ! where art thou ? ' It rent the very soul to hear her ; I 
weep now when I think of it. Our children, look you, are 
the very marrow of our bones. — My poor little Eustache, 
thou too art so beautiful ! — Could you but know how clever 
he is ! It was but yesterday he said to me, ' Mother, I want 
to be a soldier.' — Oh, my Eustache, what if I were to lose 
thee ! — Well, of a sudden, La Chantefleurie sprang to her 
feet and ran through the streets of the town crying : ' To 
the camp of the Egyptians ! to the camp of the Egyp- 
tians ! Sergeants, to burn the witches ! ' The Egyptians 
were gone — deep night had fallen, and they could not be 
pursued. Next day, two leagues from Reims, on a heath 
between Gueux and Tilloy, were found the remains of a 
great fire, some ribbons that had belonged to Paquette's 
child, some drops of blood, and goat's dung. The night 
just past had been that of Saturday. Impossible to doubt 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

that the gipsies had kept their Sabbath on this heath, 
and had devoured the infant in company with Beelzebub, as 
is the custom among the Mahometans. When La Chante- 
fleurie heard of these horrible things she shed no tear, her 
lips moved as if to speak, but no words came. On the 
morrow her hair was gray, and the day after that she had 

" A terrible story indeed," said Oudarde, " and one that 
would draw tears from a Burgundian ! " 

" I do not wonder now," added Gervaise, " that the fear 
of the Egyptians should pursue you." 

" And you were the better advised," said Oudarde, " in 
running away with your Eustache, seeing that these, too, are 
Egyptians from Poland." 

" No," said Gervaise, " it is said they come from Spain 
and Catalonia." 

" Catalonia ? Well, that may be," answered Oudarde. 
" Polognia, Catalonia, Valonia — I always confound those three 
provinces. The sure thing is that they're Egyptians." 

" And as sure," added Gervaise, " that they've teeth long 
enough to eat little children. And I would not be surprised 
if La Esmeralda did a little of that eating, for all she purses 
up her mouth so small. That w^hite goat of hers knows too 
many cunning tricks that there should not be some devilry 
behind it." 

Mahiette pursued her way in silence, sunk in that kind 
of reverie which is in some sort a prolongation of any pitiful 
tale, and does not cease till it has spread its emotion, wave 
upon wave, to the innermost recesses of the heart. 

" And was it never known what became of La Chante- 
fleurie ? " asked Gervaise. But Mahiette made no reply till 
Gervaise, repeating her question, and shaking her by the 
arm, seemed to awaken her from her musings. 

" What became of Chantefleurie ? " said she, mechanically 
repeating the words just fresh in her ear; then, with an effort, 
to recall her attention to their sense : " Ah," she added 
quickly, " that was never known." 

After a pause she went on : " Some said they had seen 
her leave the town in the dusk by the Flechembault gate ; 
others, at the break of day by the old Basee gate. A poor 


The Story of a Wheaten Cake 

man found her gold cross hung upon the stone cross in the 
field where the fair is held. It was that trinket that had 
ruined her in '6i — a gift from the handsome Vicomte de 
Cormontreuil, her first lover. Paquette would never part 
with it, even in her greatest poverty — she clung to it as to 
her life. So, seeing this cross abandoned, we all thought 
she must be dead. Nevertheless, some people at the Cabaret 
des Vautes came forward and protested they had seen her 
pass by on the road to Paris, walking barefoot over the rough 
stones. But then she must have gone out by the Vesle gate, 
and that does not agree with the rest. Or rather, I incline 
to the belief that she did leave by the Vesle gate, but to go 
out of the world." 

" I do not understand," said Gervaise. 

" The Vesle," replied Mahiette with a mournful sigh, " is 
the river." 

" Alas, poor Chantefleurie ! " said Oudarde with a shudder, 

" Drowned ! " said Mahiette. " And who could have fore- 
told to the good father Guybertaut, when he was passing 
down the stream under the Tinqueux bridge, singing in his 
boat, that one day his dear little Paquette should pass under 
that same bridge, but without either boat or song ! " 

** And the little shoe ? " asked Gervaise. 

" Vanished with the mother." 

" Poor little shoe ! " sighed Oudarde ; fat, tender-hearted 
creature, she would have been very well pleased to go on 
sighing in company with Mahiette ; but Gervaise, of a more 
inquiring disposition, was not at an end of her questions. 

"And the little monster?" she suddenly said to Mahiette. 

"What monster?" 

" The little gipsy monster left by the black witches in the 
place of Chantefleurie's little girl. What was done with it? 
I trust you had it drowned? " 

" No," answered Mahiette, " we did not." 

" What ? burned, then ? F faith, a better way for a witch's 
spav/n ! " 

" Neither drowned nor burned, Gervaise. His Lordship 
the archbishop took pity on the child of Egypt, exorcised 
it, blessed it, carefully cast the devil out of its body, and 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

then sent it to Paris to be exposed as a foundling on the 
wooden bed in front of Notre-Dame." 

" Ah, these bishops," grumbled Gervaise ; " because they 
are learned, forsooth, they can never do anything like other 
folks ! Think of it, Oudarde — to put the devil among the 
foundlings ! for of course the little monster was the devil. 
Well, Mahiette, and what did they do with him in Paris? 
I'll answer for it that no charitable person would have it." 

" I know not," answered the lady of Reims. " It was 
just at the time when my husband purchased the office of 
clerk to the Court of Justice at Beru, two leagues distant 
from the city, and we thought no further of the story, par- 
ticularly that just in front of Beru are the two little hills 
of Cernay, which hide the towers of the Cathedral from view." 

Meanwhile, the three worthy burgher wives had reached 
the Place de Greve. Absorbed in conversation, however, 
they had passed the public breviary of the Tour-Roland 
without noticing it, and were directing their steps mechanic- 
ally towards the pillory round which the crowd increased 
from moment to moment. It is possible that the sight which 
at that instant drew all eyes towards it would have com- 
pletely driven the Rat-Hole and the pious halt they intended 
making there from their minds, had not fat, six-year-old 
Eustache, dragging at Mahiette's side, recalled it to them 

" Mother," said he, as if some instinct apprised him that 
they had left the Rat-Hole behind, "now may I eat the cake? " 

Had Eustache been more astute, that is to say, less greedy, 
he would have waited, and not till they had returned to the 
University, to Maitre Andry Musnier's house in the Rue 
Madame-la-\'alence, and he had put the two arms of the 
Seine and the five bridges of the city between the Rat-Hole 
and the cake, would he have hazarded this question. 

Imprudent though the question was on Eustache's part, 
it recalled his mother to her charitable purpose. 

" That reminds me," exclaimed she, " we were forgetting 
the nun! Show me this Rat-Hole of yours, that I may give 
her the cake." 

" Right gladly," said Oudarde ; " it will be a charity." 

This w'as quite out of Eustache's reckoning. 


The Story of a Wheaten Cake 

" It's my cake ! " said he, drawing up first one shoulder 
and then the other till they touched his ears — a sign, in such 
cases, of supreme dissatisfaction. 

The three women retraced their steps and presently 
reached the Tour-Roland. 

Said Oudarde to the other two : " We must not all look 
into the cell at once, lest we frighten the recluse. Do you 
two make as if yovi were reading Dominus in the breviary, 
while I peep in at the window. The sachette knows me 
somewhat. I will give you a sign when you may come." 

Accordingly, she went alone to the window. As her gaze 
penetrated the dim interior, profound pity overspread her 
countenance, and her frank and wholesome face changed as 
suddenly in expression and hue as if it had passed out of 
the sunshine into moonlight. Her eyes moistened and her 
lips contracted as before an outbreak of tears. The next 
moment she laid her finger on her lips and signed to Mahiette 
to come and look. 

Mahiette advanced, tremulous, silent, on tip-toe, as one 
approaching a death-bed. 

It was, in truth, a sorrowful spectacle which presented 
itself to the eyes of the two women, as they gazed, motionless 
and breathless, through the barred aperture of the Rat-Hole. 

The cell was small, wider than it was deep, with a vaulted, 
Gothic ceiling, giving it much the aspect of the inside of a 
bishop's mitre. Upon the bare flag-stones which formed its 
floor, in a corner a woman was seated, or rather crouching, 
her chin resting on her knees, which her tightly clasped arms 
pressed close against her breast. Cowering together thus, 
clothed in a brown sack which enveloped her entirely in its 
large folds, her long, gray hair thrown forward and falling 
over her face along her sides and down to her feet, she 
seemed, at the first glance, but a shapeless heap against the 
gloomy background of the cell, a dark triangle which the 
daylight struggling through the window divided sharply into 
two halves, one light, the other dark — one of those spectres, 
half light, half shade, such as one sees in dreams, or in one 
of Goya's extraordinary works — pale, motionless, sinister, 
crouching on a tomb or leaning against the bars of a prison. 
You could not say definitely that it was a woman, a man, a 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

living being of any sort ; it was a figure, a vision in which 
the real and the imaginary were interwoven Hke light and 
shadow. Beneath the hair that fell all about it to the ground, 
you could just distinguish the severe outline of an emaciated 
face, just catch a glimpse under the edge of the garment of 
the extremity of a. bare foot, clinging cramped and rigid to 
the frozen stones. The little of human form discernible under 
that penitential covering sent a shudder through the beholder. 

This figure, which might have been permanently fixed 
to the stone floor, seemed wholly without motion, thought, 
or breath. In that thin covering of sackcloth, in January, 
lying on the bare stones, without a fire, in the shadow of a 
cell whose oblique loophole admitted only the northeast 
wind, but never the sunshine, she seemed not to suffer, not 
even to feel. You would have thought she had turned to 
stone with the dungeon, to ice with the season. Her hands 
were clasped, her eyes fixed ; at the first glance you took her 
for a spectre ; at the second, for a statue. 

However, at intervals, her livid lips parted with a breath 
and quivered, but the movement was as dead and mechanical 
as leaves separated by the breeze ; while from those dull eyes 
came a look, ineffable, deep, grief-stricken, unwavering, 
immutably fixed on a corner of the cell which was not visible 
from without ; a gaze which seemed to concentrate all the 
gloomy thoughts of that agonized soul upon some mys- 
terious object. 

Such was the being who, from her habitation, was called 
the rechise, and from her sackcloth garment, the sachette. 

The three women — for Gervaise had joined Mahiette and 
Oudarde — looked through the window, and though their heads 
intercepted the feeble light of the cell, its miserable tenant 
seemed unaware of their scrutiny. 

" Let us not disturb her," whispered Oudarde ; " she is in 
one of her ecstasies, she is praying." 

Meanwhile Mahiette gazed in ever-increasing earnestness 
upon that wan and withered face and that dishevelled head, 
and her eyes filled with tears. " That w^ould indeed be 
strange ! " she murmured. 

She pushed her head through the cross-bars of the window, 
and succeeded in obtaining a glimpse into that corner of the 


The Story of a Wheaten Cake 

cell upon which the unfortunate woman's eyes were immova- 
bly fixed. When she withdrew her head, her face was bathed 
in tears. 

" What do you call that woman ? " she asked of Oudarde. 

" We call her Sister Gudule," was the reply. 

" And I," said Mahiette, " I call her Paquette la Chante- 
fleurie ! " 

Then, with her finger on her lips, she signed to the amazed 
Oudarde to look through the bars of the window in her turn. 
Oudarde did so, and saw in that corner, upon which the eye 
of the recluse was fixed in gloomy trance, a little shoe of 
rose-coloured satin covered with gold and silver spangles. 
Gervaise took her turn after Oudarde, after which the three 
women gazing upon the unhappy mother mingled their tears 
of distress and compassion. 

But neither their scrutiny nor their weeping had stirred 
the recluse. Her hands remained tightly locked, her lips 
silent, her eyes fixed, and to any one who knew her story 
that little shoe thus gazed at was a heart-breaking sight. 

None of the three women had uttered a word ; they dared 
not speak, not even in a whisper. This deep silence, this 
profound grief, this abstraction, in which all things were for- 
gotten save that one, affected them Hke the sight of the High 
Altar at Easter or at Christmastide. A sense of being in some 
holy place came upon them ; they were ready to fall on their 

At length Gervaise, the most inquiring of the three, and 
therefore the least sensitive, endeavoured to get speech of 
the recluse, " Sister Gudule ! Sister! " she called repeatedly, 
raising her voice louder each time. . 

The recluse never stirred. Not a word, not a glance, not 
a breath, not a sign of life. 

Oudarde, in a softer and more caressing tone, tried in her 
turn. " Sister ! " she called ; " Sister Gudule ! " 

The same silence, the same immobility. 

" A strange woman indeed ! " cried Gervaise ; " no bom- 
bard would make her move." 

" Perhaps she is deaf," suggested Oudarde. 

" Or blind," added Gervaise. 

" Perhaps she is dead," said Mahiette. In truth, if the 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

soul had not actually quitted that inert, motionless, lethargic 
body, at least it had withdrawn itself to such inaccessible 
depths that the perceptions of the external organs were power- 
less to reach it. 

" There remains nothing for us to do, then," said Oudarde, 
" but to leave the cake on the ledge of the window. But 
then, some boy will be sure to take it away. What can we 
do to arouse her? " 

Eustache, whose attention up till now had been distracted 
by the passing of a little cart drawn by a great dog, now 
noticed that his three companions were looking at something 
through the window above him, and, seized in his turn with 
curiosity, he mounted upon a stone, stood on tip-toe, and 
stretched up his round, rosy face to the hole, crying, " Mother, 
let me see too ! " 

At the sound of the child's clear, fresh, ringing voice the 
recluse started violently. She turned her head with the sharp 
and sudden motion of a steel spring, the two long, fleshless 
hands drew aside the veil of hair from her brow, and she 
fixed upon the child a pair of bewildered and despairing eyes. 

It was but a glance. " Oh, my God ! " she cried, sud- 
denly burying her face in her knees, and it seemed as if 
her hoarse voice tore her breast in passing, " in pity do not 
show me those of others ! " 

" Good-morrow, dame," said the child soberly. 

The shock had awakened the recluse from her trance. A 
long shiver ran through her from head to foot, her teeth 
chattered, she half raised her head, and pressing her arms 
to her sides, she took her feet in her hands as if to warm them. 

" Oh, the bitter cold ! " she murmured. 

" Poor soul ! " said Oudarde in deepest pity, " will you 
have a little fire? " 

She shook her head in token of refusal. 

" Then," Oudarde went on, holding out a flask to her, 
" here is hippocras ; that will warm you — drink." 

She shook her head again and looked fixedly at Oudarde. 
" Water," she said. 

" Xo, sister," Oudarde insisted, " that is no drink for a 
January day. You must have a little hippocras, and eat 
this wheaten cake we have baked for you." 


The Story of a Wheaten Cake 

She pushed away the cake Mahiette held out to her, and 
said, " Some black bread." 

" Come," said Gervaise, seized with charity in her turn, 
and taking off her woollen cloak, " here is a cloak something 
warmer than yours. Put it round your shoulders." 

But she refused this as she had done the flask and the 
cake. " A sack," she answered. 

" But you must have something to show that yesterday 
was a holiday ! " urged the good Oudarde. 

" I know it well," answered the recluse ; " these two days 
I have had no water in my pitcher." 

After a moment's silence she continued, " It is a holiday, 
so they forget me. They do well. Why should the world think 
of me, who think not of it ? Cold ashes to a dead brand ! " 

And as if exhausted by having said thus much, she let 
her head fall again upon her knees. The simple-minded, 
compassionate Oudarde gathering from these last words that 
the poor woman was still lamenting at the cold, said once 

" Then will you not have some fire ? " 

" Fire ! " answered the woman in a strange tone, " and 
will you make a fire for the poor little one that has been 
under the ground these fifteen years?" 

She trembled in every limb, her voice shook, her eyes 
gleamed, she had risen to her knees. Suddenly she stretched 
out a thin and bloodless hand and pointed to the child, who 
gazed at her round-eyed and wondering. " Take away that 
child," she cried, " the Egyptian is coming by ! " 

Then she fell on her face on the ground, her forehead 
striking the floor with the sound of stone upon stone. The 
three women thought her dead ; but a moment afterward she 
stirred, and they saw her drag herself on her hands and 
knees to the corner where the little shoe lay. At this they 
dared look no longer ; they sav/ her not, but they heard the 
sound of a tempest of sighs and kisses, mingled with heart- 
rending cries and dull blows as of a head being struck against 
a wall; then, after one of these blows, so violent that they all 
three recoiled in horror, deep silence. 

" Can she have killed herself?" asked Gervaise, venturing 
her head through the bars. " Sister 1 Sister Gudule ! " 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

" Sister Gudule !" echoed Oudarde. 

" Alas, she does not move ! " cried Gervaise ; " can she be 
dead ? Gudule ! Gudule !" 

Mahiette, whom deep emotion had rendered speechless, 
now made an effort. "Wait a moment," said she; then go- 
ing close to the window — "Paquette!" she cried — "Paquette 
la Chantefleurie ! " 

A child blowing unsuspiciously on the half-lighted match 
of a petard, causing it suddenly to explode in his face, would 
not be more appalled than IMahiette at the effect of this name, 
thus unexpectedly launched into Sister Gudule's cell. 

The recluse shook in every limb, then, rising to her feet, 
she sprang at the loophole with eyes so blazing that the three 
women and the child all fell back to the very edge of the quay. 

Meanwhile the terrible face of the recluse remained close 
to the grating. " Oh ! oh ! " she cried, with a horrible laugh. 
" it is the Egyptian woman calling me ! " 

At that moment a scene which was taking place on the 
pillory caught her haggard eye. Her brow contracted with 
horror, she stretched her two skeleton arms through the cross- 
bars, and cried in a voice like the rattle in a dying throat. 
" 'Tis thou again, daughter of Egypt ! 'Tis thou calling me, 
stealer of children ! Accursed be thou forever — accursed ! 
accursed ! accursed !" 



The concluding words of the foregoing chapter may be 
described as the point of junction of two scenes which, till that 
moment, had been running parallel, each on its own particular 
stage; the one — which we have just been following — at the 
Rat-Hole; the other — now to be described — on the pillory. 
The former had been witnessed only by the three women with 
whom the reader has just been made acquainted; the latter 
had for audience the whole crowd which we saw gathering in 
the Place de Greve round the pillory and the gibbet. 


A Tear for a Drop of Water 

This crowd, in whom the sight of the four sergeants 
stationed since nine in the morning at the four corners of 
the pillory had roused the pleasing expectation of a penal 
exhibition of some sort — not, perhaps, a hanging, but a flog- 
ging, a cutting oflf of ears or the like — this crowd had 
increased so rapidly that the four mounted men, finding them- 
selves too closely pressed, had more than once been under 
the necessity of " tightening " it, as they called it then, by 
great lashes of their whips and their horses' heels. 

The populace, well accustomed to waiting for public exe- 
cutions, manifested but little impatience. They amused them- 
selves by looking at the pillory, a very simple structure, con- 
sisting of a hollow cube of masonry some ten feet in height. 
A steep flight of steps of unhewn stone — called par excellence 
the ladder — led to the top platform, on which lay horizontally 
a wheel of stout oak. To this wheel the victim was bound 
kneeling and with his hands pinioned behind him ; a shaft of 
timber, set in motion by a windlass concealed in the interior 
of the structure, caused the wheel to rotate horizontally, thus 
presenting the face of the culprit to every point of the Place 
in succession. This was called " turning " the criminal. 

It will be seen from the description that the pillory of 
the Greve was far from possessing the many attractions of 
that at the Halles. Here was nothing architectural, nothing 
monumental — no roof embellished with an iron cross, no 
octagon lantern tower, no slender pilasters blossoming out 
against the edge of the roof into acanthus-leafed and flowery 
capitals, no fantastic, dragon-headed gargoyles, no carved 
wood-work, no delicate sculpture cut deeply into the stone. 

One had to be content with the four rough-hewn sides 
of stone and an ugly stone gibbet, mean and bare, at the side 
of it. The show would have been a poor one to the amateur 
of Gothic architecture, but truly nobody could be more indif- 
ferent in the matter of architecture than the good burghers 
of the Middle Ages ; they cared not a jot for the beauty 
of a pillory. 

At last the culprit arrived, tied to a cart's tail, and as soon 
as he was hoisted on to the platform and, bound with cords 
and straps to the wheel, was plainly visible from every point 
of the Place, a prodigious hooting mingled with laughter and 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

acclamations burst from the assembled crowd. They had 
recognised Quasimodo. 

It was indeed he. Strange turn of fortune's wheel ! — ^to 
be pilloried on the same spot on which, but the day before, 
he had been saluted, acclaimed Pope and Prince of Fools, 
and counted in his train the Duke of Egypt, the King of 
Tunis, and the Emperor of Galilee. One thing, however, 
is certain, there was no mind in that crowd, not even his 
own, though in turn the victor and the vanquished, that 
thought of drawing this parallel. Gringoire and his phi- 
losophy were lacking at this spectacle. 

Presently Michel Noiret, appointed trumpeter to our lord 
the King, after imposing silence on the people, made proc- 
lamation of the sentence, pursuant to the ordinance and com- 
mand of the Lord Provost. He then fell back behind the 
cart with his men. 

Quasimodo, quite impassive, never stirred a muscle. All 
resistance was impossible to him by reason of what, in the 
parlance of the old criminal law, was described as '* the 
strength and firmness of the bonds " — in other words, the 
cords and chains probably cut into his flesh. This tradition 
of the dungeon and the galleys has been handed down to us 
and carefully preserved among us civilized, tender-hearted, 
humane people in the shape of the manacles — not forgetting 
the bagnio and the guillotine, of course. 

Quasimodo had passively let himself be led, thrust, car- 
ried, hoisted up, bound and rebound. Nothing was to be 
discovered in his face but the bewilderment of the savage or 
the idiot. He was known to be deaf; he might also have 
been blind. 

They thrust him on to his knees on the wheel, they 
stripped him to the waist : he made no resistance. They 
bound him down with a fresh arrangement of cords and 
leathern thongs ; he let them bind and strap him. Only 
from time to time he breathed heavily, like a calf whose head 
swings and bumps over the edge of a butcher's cart. 

" The blockhead," said Jehan Frollo of the Mill to his 
friend Robin Poussepain (for the two scholars had followed 
the culprit, as in duty bound), " he knows no more what it's 
all about than a bumble-bee shut in a box ! " 


A Tear for a Drop of Water 

There was a great burst of laughter from the crowd when, 
stripped naked to their view, they caught sight of Quasimodo's 
hump, his camel's breast, his brawny, hairy shoulders. Dur- 
ing the merriment a man in the livery of the Town, short 
of stature and of burly make, ascended to the platform and 
stationed himself beside the culprit. His name was quickly 
circulated among the spectators. It was Master Pierrat 
Torterue, official torturer to the Chatelet. 

He first proceeded to deposit on a corner of the pillory 
a black hour-glass, the upper cup of which was filled with 
red sand, which ran into the lower receptacle ; he then divested 
himself of his party-coloured doublet, and dangling from his 
right hand there appeared a scourge with long, slender, white 
thongs — shining, knotted, interlaced — and armed with metal 
claws. With his left hand he carelessly drew the shirt-sleeve 
up his right arm as high as the shoulder. 

At this Jehan Frollo, lifting his curly, fair head above the 
crowd (for which purpose he had mounted on the shoulders 
of Robin Poussepain), shouted : " Walk up, walk up, ladies 
and gentlemen, and see them scourge Maitre Quasimodo, 
bell-ringer to my brother the reverend archdeacon of Josas, 
a rare specimen of Oriental architecture, with a domed back, 
and twisted columns for legs ! " 

And the crowd roared again, especially the young people. 

The torturer now stamped his foot ; the wheel began to 
move. Quasimodo swayed under his bonds, and the amaze- 
ment suddenly depicted on that misshapen countenance gave 
a fresh impulse to the peals of laughter round about. 

Suddenly, at the moment when the wheel in its rotation 
presented to Master Pierrat Quasimodo's enormous back, the 
torturer raised his arm, the thongs hissed shrilly through 
the air, like a handful of vipers, and fell with fury on the 
shoulders of the hapless wretch. 

Quasimodo recoiled as if suddenly startled out of sleep. 
Now he began to understand. He writhed in his bonds, the 
muscles of his face contracted violently in surprise and pain, 
but not a sound escaped him. He only rolled his head from 
side to side, like a bull stung in the flank by a gadfl}-. 

A second stroke followed the first, then a -third, and 
another, and another. The wheel ceased not to turn, nor the 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

lashes to rain down. Soon the blood began to flow; it 
trickled in a thousand streams over the dark shoulders of 
the hunchback, and the keen thongs, as they swung round 
in the air, scattered it in showers over the multitude. 

Quasimodo had resumed, in appearance at least, his former 
impassibility. At first he had striven, silently and without 
any great external movement, to burst his bonds. His eye 
kindled, his muscles contracted, his limbs gathered themselves 
up. The effort was powerful, strenuous, desperate, and the 
cords and straps were strained to their utmost tension; but 
the seasoned bonds of the provostry held. They cracked, 
but that was all. Quasimodo desisted, exhausted by the effort, 
and the stupefaction on his face was succeeded by an expres- 
sion of bitter and hopeless discouragement. He closed his 
single eye, dropped his head upon his breast, and gave no 
further sign of life. 

Thenceforward he did not stir ; nothing could wring a 
movement from him — neither the blood, that did not cease 
to flow, nor the strokes which fell with redoubled fury, nor 
the violence of the torturer, who had worked himself into a 
state of frenzy, nor the shrill and strident whistle of the 

At length an usher of the Chatelet, clad in black, mounted 
on a black horse, and stationed at the foot of the ladder since j 
the beginning of the chastisement, pointed with his ebony 
staff to the hour-glass. The torturer held his hand, the wheel 
stopped. Quasimodo slowly reopened his eye. 

The scourging was over. Two assistants of the torturer 
bathed the lacerated shoulders of the culprit, applied to them 
some kind of unguent which immediately closed the wounds, 
and threw over his back a yellow cloth shaped like a chasuble ; 
Pierrat Torterue meanwhile letting the blood drain from the 
lashes of his scourge in great drops on to the ground. 

Biit all was not yet over for poor Quasimodo. He had 
still to undergo that hour on the pillory which Maitre Florian 
Barbedienne had so judiciously added to the sentence of 
Messire Robert d'Estouteville ; and all merely to prove the 
truth of John of Cumenes's ancient physiological and psycho- 
logical jell dc mots : Snrdus absurdiis. 

They accordingly turned the hour-glass, and left the hunch- 


A Tear for a Drop of Water 

back bound to the wheel, that justice might run its course 
to the end. 

The people — particularly in the Middle Ages — are to so- 
ciety what the child is in the family ; and as long as they are 
allowed to remain at that primitive stage of ignorance, of 
moral and intellectual nonage, it may be said of them as of 
childhood — " It is an age that knows not pity." 

We have already shown that Quasimodo w^as universally 
hated — for more than one good reason, it must be admitted — 
for there was hardly an individual among the crowd of spec- 
tators but had or thought he had some cause of complaint 
against the malevolent hunchback of Notre-Dame. All had 
rejoiced to see him make his appearance on the pillory ; and 
the severe punishment he had just undergone, and the pitiable 
plight in which it had left him, so far from softening the 
hearts of the populace, had rendered their hatred more mali- 
cious by pointing it with the sting of merriment. 

Accordingly, " public vengeance " — vindicte*piihUque, as the 
jargon of the law courts still has it — being satisfied, a thou- 
sand private revenges now had their turn. Here, as in the 
great Hall, the women were most in evidence. Every one 
of them had some grudge against him — some for his wicked 
deeds, others for his ugly face — and the latter were the most 
incensed of the two. 

" Oh, image of the Antichrist ! " cried one. 

" Thou rider on the broomstick ! " screamed another. 

" Oh, the line tragical grimace ! " yelled a third, " and 
that would have made him Pope of Fools if to-day had been 

" Good ! " chimed in an old woman, " this is the pillory 
grin. When are we going to see him grin through a noose? " 

" When shall we see thee bonneted by thy great bell 
and driven a hundred feet underground, thrice-cursed bell- 
rmger ? 

" And to think that this foul fiend should ring the 
Angelus ! " 

" Oh, the misbegotten hunchback ! the monster ! " 

" To look at him is enough to make a woman miscarry 
better than any medicines or pharmacy." 

And the two scholars, Jehan of the Mill and Robin Pousse- 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

pain, struck in at the pitch of their voices with the refrain of 
an old popular song : 

" A halter 
For the gallows rogue, 

A fagot 
For the witch's brat." 

A thousand abusive epithets were hurled at him, with 
hoots and imprecations and bursts of laughter, and now and 
then a stone or two. 

Quasimodo was deaf, but he saw very clearly, and the 
fury of the populace was not less forcibly expressed in their 
faces than in their words. Besides, the stones that struck 
him explained the bursts of laughter. 

At first he bore it well enough. But, by degrees, the 
patience that had remained inflexible under the scourge of 
the torturer relaxed and broke down under the insect stings. 
The Asturian bull that bears unmoved the attack of the pica- 
dors is exasperated by the dogs and banderillas. 

Slowly he cast a look of menace over the crowd ; but, 
bound hand and foot as he was, his glance was impotent to 
drive away these flies that stung his wounds. He shook him- 
self in his toils, and his furious struggles made the old wheel 
of the pillory creak upon its timbers ; all of which merely 
served to increase the hooting and derision. 

Then the poor wretch, finding himself unable to burst 
his fetters, became quiet again ; only at intervals a sigh of 
rage burst from his tortured breast. No flush of shame dyed 
that face. He was too far removed from social convention, 
too near a state of nature, to know what shame was. In any 
case, at that degree of deformity, is a sense of infamy possible? 
But resentment, hatred, and despair slowly spread a cloud 
over 'that hideous countenance, growing ever more gloomy, 
ever more charged with electricity, which flashed in a thousand 
lightnings from the eye of the Cyclops. 

Nevertheless, the cloud lifted a moment, at the appearance 
of a mule which passed through the crowd, ridden by a priest. 
From the moment that he caught sight of the priest, the poor 
victim's countenance softened, and the rage that distorted it 
gave place to a strange soft smile full of ineffable tenderness. 




A Tear for a Drop of Water 

As the priest approached nearer, this smile deepened, became 
more distinct, more radiant, as though the poor creature 
hailed the advent of a saviour. Ajas ! no sooner was the mule 
come near^ enoju^i to the pillory for~its rider to recognise 
tlie person of the culprit, than the priest cast down his eyes, 
turned his steed abruptly, and .hastened away, as if anxious 
to escape any humiliating appeal, and not desirous of being 
recognised and greeted by a poor devil in such a position. 

This priest was the Archdeacon Dom Claude Frollo. 

And now the cloud fell thicker and darker than before 
over the face of Quasimodo. The smile still lingered for a 
while, but it was bitter, disheartened, unutterably sad. 

Time was passing : he had been there for at least an hour 
and a half, lacerated, abused, mocked, and well-nigh stoned 
to death. 

Suddenly he renewed his struggles against his bonds with 
such desperation that the old structure on which he was fixed 
rocked beneath him. Then, breaking the silence he had 
obstinately preserved, he cried aloud in a hoarse and furious 
voice, more like the cry of a dog than a human being, and 
that rang above the hooting and the shouts, " Water ! " 

This cry of distress, far from moving them to compassion, 
only added to the amusement of the populace gathered round 
the pillory, who, it must be admitted, taking them in a mass, 
were scarcely less cruel and brutal than that debased tribe 
of vagabonds whom we have already introduced to the reader. 
Not a voice was raised around the unhappy victim save in 
mockery of his thirst. Undoubtedly his appearance at that 
moment — with his purple, streaming face, his eye bloodshot 
and distraught, the foam of rage and pain upon his lips, his 
lolling tongue — made him an object rather of repulsion than of 
pity ; bvit we are bound to say that had there even been among 
the crowd some kind, charitable soul tempted to carry a cup 
of water to that poor wretch in agony, there hung round the 
steps of the pillory, in the prejudice of the times, an atmos- 
phere of infamy and shame dire enough to have repelled the 
Good Samaritan himself. 

At the end of a minute or two Quasimodo cast his de- 
spairing glance over the cro;v\ui onee^ more, and cried in yet 
more heart-rending tones, /^Water!^ 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

Renewed laughter on all sides. 

" Drink that ! " cried Robin Poussepain, throwing in his 
face a sponge soaked in the kennel. " Deaf rogue, I am 
thy debtor." 

A woman launched a stone at his head — " That shall teach 
thee to wake us at night with thy accursed ringing." 

" Ah-ha, my lad," bawled a cripple, trying to reach him 
with his crutch, " wilt thou cast spells on us again from the 
towers of Notre-Dame, I wonder? " 

" Here's a porringer to drink out of," said a man, hurling 
a broken pitcher at his breast. " 'Tis thou, that only by pass- 
ing before her, caused my wife to be brought to bed of a 
child with two heads ! " 

"And my cat of a kit with six legs!" screamed an old 
woman as she flung a tile at him. 

" Wateriy gasped Quasimodo for the third time. 

^f"t4«t-moment he saw the crowd part and a young girl 
in fantastic dress issue from it ; she was accompanied by a 
little white goat with gilded horns, and carried a tambourine 
in her hand. 

Quasimodo's eye flashed. It was the gipsy girl he had 
attempted to carry off the night before, for which piece of 
daring he felt in some confused way he was being chastised 
at that very moment ; which was not in the least the case, 
seeTng that he was punished only for the misfortune of being 
deaf and having had a deaf judge. However, he doubted not 
that she, too, had come to have her revenge and to aim a blow 
at him like the rest. 

He beheld her rapidly ascend the steps. Rage and vexa- 
tion choked him ; he would have burst the pillory in frag- 
ments if he could, and if the flash of his eye had possessed 
the lightning's power, the gipsy would have been reduced 
to ashes before ever she reached the platform. 

Without a word she approached the culprit, who struggled 
vainly to escape her, and detaching a gourd bottle from her 
girdle, she raised it gently to those poor parched lips. 

"* Then from that eye, hitherto so dry and burning, there 
rolled a great tear which trickled down the uncouth face, so 
long distorted by despair and pain — the first, maybe, the hap- 
less creature had ever shed. 


A Tear for a Drop of Water 

But he had forgotten to drink. The gipsy impatiently 
madeJiex^ little familiar grimace ; then, smiling, held the.jieck 
of the gourd to Quasimodo's tusked mouth. 

He drank in long draughts; he was consumed with thirst. 

When, at last, he had finished, the poor wretch advanced 
his black lips — no doubt to kiss the fair hands which had just 
brought him relief; but the girl, mistrusting him perhaps, 
and remembering the violent attempt of the night before, 
drew back her hand with the frightened gesture of a child 
expecting to be bitten by some animal. Whereat the poor, 
deaf creature fixed upon her a look full of reproach and 

In any place it would have been a touching spectacle to 
see a beautiful girl — so fresh, so pure, so kind, and so unpro- 
tected — hastening thus to succour so much of misery, of de- 
formity and wickedness. On a pillory, it became sublime. 

The people themselves were overcome by it, and clapped 
their hands, shouting, " Noel ! Noel ! " 

It was at this moment that the recluse, through the loop- 
hole of her cell, caught sight of the gipsy girl on the steps 
of the pillory, and launched her sinister imprecation : " Cursed 
be thou, daughter of Egypt ! cursed ! cursed I ** 



Esmeralda blanched and swayed as she descended the 
steps of the pillory, the voice of the recluse pursuing her 
as she went : " Come down ! come down ! Ah, thou Egyptian 
thief, thou shalt yet return there again ! " 

" The sachette is in one of her tantrums," murmured the 
people; but they went no further, for these women were 
feared, which made them sacred. In those days they were 
shy of attacking a person who prayed day and night. 

The hour had now arrived for releasing Quasimodo. They 
unfastened him from the pillory, and the crowd dispersed. 

Near the Grand-Pont, Mahiette, who was going away with 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

her companions, suddenly stopped. " Eustache," she said, 
" what hast thou done with the cake ? " 

" Mother," answered the child, " while you were talking 
to the dame in the hole a great dog came and took a bite 
of my cake, and so then I too had a bite." 

" What, sir," she cried, ** you have eaten it all ! " 

" Mother, it was the dog. I told him, but he would not 
listen ; then I bit a piece too." 

" 'Tis a shocking boy ! " said the mother, smiling fondly 
while she scolded. " Look you, Oudarde, already he eats 
by himself all the cherries in our little orchard at Charle- 
range. So his grandfather predicts he will be a captain. — Let 
me catch you at it again. Monsieur Eustache. Go, greedy 




Several weeks had elapsed. 

It was the beginning of March, and though Du Bartas,* that 
classic ancestor of the periphrase, had not yet styled the sun 
" the Grand Duke of the Candles," his rays were none the less 
bright and cheerfux. It was one of those beautiful mild days 
of early spring that draw all Paris out into the squares and 
promenades rs it iu were a Sunday. On these days of clear 
air, of warmth, and of serenity there is one hour in particular 
at which the great door of Notre-Dame is seen at its best. 
That is at the moment when the sun, already declining in the 
west, stands almost directly opposite the front of the Cathe- 
dral ; when his rays, becoming more and more horizontal, 
slowly retreat from the flag-stones of the Place and creep up 
the sheer face of the building, making its innumerable em- 
bossments stand forth from the shadow, while the great cen- 
tral rose-window flames like a Cyclops's eye lit up by the glow 
of a forge. 

It was at this hour. 

Opposite to the lofty Cathedral, now reddened by the set- 
ting sun, on the stone balcony over the porch of a handsome 
Gothic house at the corner formed by the Place and the 
Rue du Parvis, a group of fair damsels were laughing and 
talking with a great display of pretty airs and graces. By 

* A popular French poet of the sixteenth century, whose poem on The 
Divine Week and Works was translated by Joshua Sylvester in the reign 
of James I. 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

the length of the veils which fell from the tip of their pearl- 
encircled pointed coif down to their heels ; by the delicacy of 
the embroidered chemisette which covered the shoulders but 
permitted a glimpse — according to the engaging fashion of the 
day — of the swell of the fair young bosom ; by the richness 
of their under-petticoats, more costly than the overdress 
(exquisite refinement) ; by the gauze, the silk, the velvet 
stuffs, and, above all, by the whiteness of their hands, which 
proclaimed them idle and unemployed, it was easy to divine 
that they came of noble and wealthy families. They were, 
in efifect, the Damoiselle Fleur-de-Lys de Gondelaurier and 
her companions, Diane de Christeuil, Amelotte de Mont- 
michel, Colombe de Gaillefontaine, and the little De Champ- 
chevrier — all daughters of good family, gathered together at 
this moment in the house of the widowed Mme. Alo'ise de 
Gondelaurier, on account of Monseigneur the Lord of Beaujeu 
and Madame Anne, his wife, who were coming to Paris in 
April in order to choose the maids-in-waiting for the Dau- 
phiness Margaret when they went to Picardy to receive her 
from the hands of the Flemings. So all the little landed pro- 
prietors for thirty leagues round were eager to procure this 
honour for their daughters, and many of them had already 
brought or sent them to Paris. The above-mentioned maidens 
had been confided by their parents to the discreet and unim- 
peachable care of Mme. Alo'ise de Gondelaurier, the widow 
of a captain of the King's archers, and now living in elegant 
retirement with her only daughter in her mansion in the 
Place du Parvis, Notre-Dame, at Paris. 

The balcony on which the girls were seated opened out 
of a room richly hung with tawny-coloured Flanders leather 
stamped with gold foliage. The beams that ran in parallel 
lines across the ceiling charmed the eye by their thousand 
fantastic carvings, painted and gilt. Gorgeous enamels 
gleamed here and there from the doors of inlaid cabinets ; a 
wild boar's head in faience crowned a magnificent side-board, 
the two steps of which proclaimed the mistress of the house 
to be the wife or widow of a knight banneret. At the further 
end of the room, in a rich red velvet chair, beside a lofty 
chimney-piece, blazoned from top to bottom with coats of 
arms, sat Mme. de Gondelaurier, whose five-and-fifty years 


Danger in Confiding a Secret to a Goat 

were no less distinctly written on her dress than on her 

Beside her stood a young man whose native air of breed- 
ing was somewhat heavily tinged with vanity and bravado — 
one of those handsome fellows whom all women are agreed 
in adoring, let wiseacres and physiognomists shake their heads 
as they will. This young cavalier w^ore the brilliant uniform 
of a captain of the King's archers, which too closely resembles 
the costume of Jupiter, which the reader has had an oppor- 
tunity of admiring at the beginning of this history, for us 
to inflict on him a second description. 

The damoiselles were seated, some just inside the room, 
some on the balcony, on cushions of Utrecht velvet with gold 
corners, or on elaborately carved oak stools. Each of them 
held on her knees part of a great piece of needlework on 
which they were all engaged, while a long end of it lay spread 
over the matting which covered the floor. 

They were talking among themselves with those w-hispers 
and stifled bursts of laughter which are the sure signs of a 
young man's presence among a party of girls. The young 
man himself who set all these feminine wiles in motion, ap- 
peared but little impressed thereby, and while the pretty 
creatures vied with one another in their endeavours to attract 
his attention, he was chiefly occupied in polishing the buckle 
of his sword-belt with his doeskin glove. 

From time to time the old lady addressed him in a low 
voice, and he answered as well as might be with a sort of 
awkward and constrained politeness. From the smiles and 
significant gestures of Madame Aloi'se, and the meaning 
glances she threw at her daughter, Fleur-de-Lys, as she talked 
to the captain, it was evident that the conversation turned on 
some betrothal already accomplished or a marriage in the 
near future between the young man and the daughter of the 
house. Also, from the cold and embarrassed air of the officer, 
it was plainly to be seen that, as far as he was concerned, 
there was no longer any question of love. His whole de- 
meanour expressed a degree of constraint and ennui such as 
a modern subaltern would translate in the admirable language 
of to-day by, " What a beastly bore ! " 

The good lady, infatuated like many another mother with 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

her daughter, never noticed the officer's lack of enthusiasm; 
but gave herself infinite pains to call his attention in a whisper 
to the matchless grace with which Fleur-de-Lys used her 
needle or unwound her silk thread. 

"Look, little cousin," said she, pulling him by the sleeve and 
speaking into his ear, " look at her now — now, as she bends." 

" Quite so," replied the young man ; and he fell back into 
his former icy and abstracted silence. 

The next moment he had to lean down again to Madame 
Alo'ise. " Have you ever," said she, " seen a blither and 
more engaging creature than your intended? She is all lily- 
white and golden. Those hands, how perfect and accom- 
plished ! and that neck, has it not all the ravishing curves of 
a swan's ? How I envy you at times ! and how fortunate 
you are in being a man, naughty rake that you are ! Is not 
my Fleur-de-Lys beautiful to adoration, and you head over 
ears in love with her ? " 

" Assuredly," he replied, thinking of something else. 

" Speak to her, then," said Madame Aloise, pushing him 
by the shoulder. " Go and say something to her ; you have 
grown strangely timid." 

We can assure our readers that timidity was no virtue or 
fault of the captain. He made an efifort, however, to do as 
he was bid. 

" Fair cousin," said he, approaching Fleur-de-Lys, " what 
is the subject of this piece of tapestry you are working at?" 

" Fair cousin," answered Fleur-de-Lys somewhat pettishly, 
" I have already informed you three times. It is the grotto 
of Neptune." 

It was evident that Fleur-de-Lys saw more plainly than 
her mother through the cold and absent manner of the cap- 
tain. He felt the necessity of pursuing the conversation 

" And who is to benefit by all this fine Neptunery ? " 
he asked. 

" It is for the Abbey of Saint-Antoine-des-Champs," an- 
swered Fleur-de-Lys, without raising her eyes. 

The captain picked up a corner of the tapestry. " And 
pray, fair cousin, who may be this big, puffy-cheeked gen- 
darme blowing a trumpet ? " 


Danger in Confiding a Secret to a Goat 

" That is Triton," she repHed. 

There was still a touch of resentment in the tone of these 
brief answers, and the young man understood perfectly that 
it behooved him to whisper in her ear some pretty nothing, 
some stereotyped gallantry — no matter what. He bent over 
her accordingly, but his imagination could furnish nothing 
more tender or personal than : " Why does your mother always 
wear a gown emblazoned with her heraldic device, as our 
grandmothers did in the time of Charles ^TI? Prithee, fair 
cousin, tell her that is no longer the fashion of the day, 
and that these hinges and laurel-trees embroidered on her 
gown make her appear like a walking mantel-piece. Nobody 
sits on their banner like that nowadays, I do assure you ! " 

Fleur-de-Lys raised her fine eyes to him reproachfully. 
" And is that all you have to assure me of ? " she asked in 
low tones. 

Meanwhile the good Dame Aloise, overjoyed to see them 
thus leaning together and whispering, exclaimed as she trifled 
with the clasps of her book of hours : " Touching scene of 
love ! " 

The captain, more and more embarrassed, returned help- 
lessly to the subject of the tapestry. " I' faith, a charming 
piece of work ! " he exclaimed. 

At this juncture Colombe de Gaillefontaine, another pink- 
and-white, golden-haired beauty, dressed in pale blue damask, 
ventured a shy remark to Fleur-de-Lys, hoping however that 
the handsome soldier would answer her. 

" Dear Gondelaurier, have you seen the tapestries at the 
Hotel de la Roche-Guyon ? " 

" Is not that where there is a garden belonging to the 
Linenkeeper of the Louvre ? " asked Diane de Christeuil with 
a laugh ; for having beautiful teeth she laughed on all 

" And where there is a great ancient tower, part of the 
old wall of Paris?" added Amelotte de Montmichel, a charm- 
ing, curly-haired, bright-complexioned brunette, who had a 
trick of sighing, just as Diane laughed, without any valid 

" My dear Colombe," said Dame Aloise, " do you mean 
the Hotel which belonged to M. de Bacqueville in the reign 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

of King Charles VI ? There are, in effect, some superb high- 
warp tapestries there." 

" Charles VI — King Charles VI ! " muttered the young 
officer, twirling his mustache. " Heavens ! how far back does 
the old lady's memory reach ? " 

" Superb tapestries ! " repeated Mme. de Gondelaurier. 
" So much so, indeed, that they are accounted absolutely 

At this moment Berangere de Champchevrier, a slip of a 
little girl of seven, who had been looking down into the Place 
through the carved trefoils of the balcony, cried out : " Oh, 
godmother Fleur-de-Lys, do look at this pretty girl dancing 
and playing the tambourine in the street in the middle of 
that ring of people ! " 

The penetrating rattle of a tambourine rose up to them 
from the square. 

" Some gipsy of Bohemia," said Fleur-de-Lys, turning her 
head carelessly towards the square. 

" Let us look — let us look! " cried her companions, eagerly 
running to the balustrade, while she followed more slowly, 
musing on the coldness of her betrothed. The latter, thankful 
for this incident, which cut short an embarrassing conversa- 
tion, returned to the other end of the apartment with the 
well-contented air of a soldier relieved from duty. 

Yet it was an easy and pleasant service, that of being on 
duty at the side of the fair Fleur-de-Lys, and time was when 
he had thought it so. But the captain had gradually wearied 
of it, and the thought of his approaching marriage grew more 
distasteful to him every day. Moreover, he was of inconstant 
disposition, and, we are bound to confess, of somewhat 
vulgar proclivities. Although of very noble birth, he had 
with his uniform adopted many of the low habits of the 
common soldier. The tavern and all that belongs to it de- 
lighted him ; and he was never at his ease but amid gross 
language, military gallantries, facile beauties, and easy con- 
quests. Nevertheless, he had received from his family a cer- 
tain amount of education and polish, but he had too early 
been allowed to run loose, had been thrust too young into 
garrison life, and the varnish of polite manner had not been 
sufficiently thick to withstand the constant friction of the 


Danger in Confiding a Secret to a Goat 

soldier's harness. Though still visiting her occasionally, from 
some last remnant of kindly feeling, he felt himself increas- 
ingly constrained in the presence of Fleur-de-Lys ; partly 
because by dint of dividing his love so freely on all sides, 
he had very little left for her; partly because in the presence 
of these stiff, decorous, and well-bred beauties, he went in 
constant fear lest his tongue, accustomed to the great oaths 
of the guard-room, should suddenly get the better of him 
and rap out some word that would appal them. 

And yet with all this he combined great pretensions to 
elegance, to sumptuous dress, and noble bearing. Let the 
reader reconcile these qualities for himself. I am merely 
the historian. 

He had been standing for some moments, in silence, lean- 
ing against the chimney-piece, thinking of something or per- 
haps of nothing at all, when Fleur-de-Lys suddenly turning 
round addressed him. After all, it went very much against 
the poor girl's heart to keep up any show of coldness 
towards him. 

" Cousin, did you not tell us of a little gipsy girl you had 
rescued out of the hands of a band of robbers about tW'O 
months ago, when you were going the counter-watch at 

" I believe I did, fair cousin," answered the captain. 

" Well," she resumed, " perhaps this is the very girl danc- 
ing now in the Parvis. Come and see if you recognise her, 
Cousin Phoebus." 

A secret desire for reconciliation sounded through this 
gentle invitation to her side, and in the care she took to call 
him by his name. Captain Phoebus de Chateaupers (for it is he 
whom the reader has had before him since the beginning of 
this chapter) accordingly slowly approached the balcony, 

" Look," said Fleur-de-Lys, tenderly laying her hand on 
his arm, " look at the girl dancing there in the ring. Is that 
your gipsy ? " 

Phoebus looked. " Yes," said he, " I know her by 
her goat." 

" Oh, what a pretty little goat ! " cried Amelotte, clapping 
her hands delightedly. 

" Are its horns real gold?" asked Berangere. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

Without rising from her seat, Dame Alo'ise inquired : " Is 
that one of the band of Bohemians who arrived last year by 
the Porte Gibard ? " 

" Lady mother," said Fleur-de-Lys gently, " that gate is 
now called Porte d'Enfer." 

Mile, de Gondelaurier was well aware how much the cap- 
tain was shocked by her mother's antiquated modes of ex- 
pression. Indeed, he muttered with a disdainful laugh : 
" Porte Gibard ! Porte Gibard ! That is to give passage to 
King Charles VI, no doubt ! " 

"Godmother!" exclaimed Berangere, whose quick and 
restless eyes were suddenly attracted to the top of the towers 
of Notre-Dame. " Who is that man in black up there ? " 

All the girls looked up. A man was leaning with his 
elbows on the topmost parapet of the northern tower which 
looked towards the Greve. It was a priest — as could be 
seen by his dress — and they could clearly distinguish his 
face, which was resting on his two hands. He stood as mo- 
tionless as a statue, and in his gaze, fixed steadily on the 
Place beneath him, there was something of the immobility 
of the kite looking down upon the sparrow's nest it has 
just discovered. 

" It is Monsieur the Archdeacon of Josas," said Fleur- 

" You must have good sight to recognise him at this 
distance," observed La Gaillefontaine. 

" How he glares at the little dancer ! " said Diane de 

" Then let the Egyptian beware," said Fleur-de-Lys, " for 
he loves not Egypt." 

" 'Tis a pity he should look at her like that," added Ame- 
lotte de Montmichel, " for she dances most bewitchingly." 

" Cousin Phcebus," said Fleur-de-Lys impulsively, " since 
you know this gipsy girl, will you not beckon to her to 
come up here — it will divert us." 

" Oh, yes ! " cried the other girls, clapping their hands 

" What a madcap idea ! " replied Phoebus. " Doubtless 
she has forgotten me, and I do not even know her name. 
However, as you wish it, mesdamoiselles, I will see what I 


Danger in Confiding a Secret to a Goat 

can do." And leaning over the balcony he called out, 
" Little one ! " 

The dancing girl was not playing her tambourine at that 
moment. She turned her head towards the spot from which 
the voice came, her brilliant eyes caught sight of Phoebus, 
and she suddenly stood still. 

" Little one," repeated the captain, and he motioned to 
her to come up. 

The girl looked at him again, then blushed as if a flame 
had risen to her cheeks, and taking her tambourine under 
her arm, she made her way through the gaping crowd towards 
the door of the house whence Phoebus called her, her step 
slow and uncertain, and with the troubled glance of a bird 
yielding to the fascination of a serpent, 

A moment later the tapestry was raised, and the gipsy 
appeared on the threshold of the room, flushed, shy, panting, 
her great eyes lowered, not daring to advance a step farther. 

Berangere clapped her hands. 

But the dancing girl stood motionless in the doorway. 
Her sudden appearance produced a curious effect on the 
group. There is no doubt that a vague and indistinct desire 
to please the handsome officer animated the whole party, and 
that the brilliant uniform was the target at which they aimed 
all their coquettish darts ; also, from the time of his being 
present there had arisen among them a certain covert rivalry, 
scarcely acknowledged to themselves, but v/hich was none 
tlie less constantly revealed in their gestures and in their 
remarks. Nevertheless, as they all possessed much the same 
degree of beauty, they fought with the same weapons, and 
each might reasonably hope for victory. The arrival of the 
gipsy roughly destroyed this equilibrium. Her beauty was of 
so rare a quality that the moment she entered the room she 
seemed to ilkiminate it with a sort of light peculiar to her- 
self. In this restricted space, in this rich frame of sombre 
hangings and dark panelling, she was incomparably more 
beautiful and radiant than in the open square. It was like 
bringing a torch out of the daylight into the shade. The 
noble maidens were dazzled by her in spite of themselves. 
Each one felt that her beauty had in some degree suffered. 
Consequently they instantly and with one accord changed 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

their line of battle (if we may be allowed the term) without 
a single word having passed between them. For the instincts 
of women understand and respond to one another far quicker 
than the intelligence of men, A common foe stood in their 
midst ; they all felt it, and combined for defence. One drop 
of wine is sufficient to tinge a whole glass of water ; to diflfuse 
a certain amount of ill temper throughout a gathering of 
pretty women, it is only necessary for one still prettier to 
arrive upon the" scene, especially if there is but one man of 
the company. 

Thus the gipsy girl's reception w-as glacial in its coldness. 
They looked her up and down, then turned to each other, 
and all was said; they were confederates. Meanwhile the 
girl, waiting in vain for them to address her, was so covered 
with confusion that she dared not raise her eyes. 

The captain was the first to break the silence, " F faith," 
he said, with his air of fatuous assurance, " a bewitching crea- 
ture ! What say you, fair cousin?" 

This remark, which a more tactful admirer would at least 
have made in an undertone, was not calculated to allay the 
feminine jealousy so sharply on the alert in the presence of 
the gipsy girl. 

Fleur-de-Lys answered her iiancc in an affected tone of 
contemptuous indifference, " Ah, not amiss." 

The others put their heads together and whispered. 

At last Madame Alo'ise, not the least jealous of the party 
because she was so for her daughter, accosted the dancer : 
" Come hither, little one." 

" Come hither, little one," repeated, with comical dignity, 
Berangere, who w^ould have reached about to her elbow. 

The Egyptian advanced towards the noble lady. 

" Pretty one," said Phoebus, impressively advancing on 
his side a step or two towards her, " I know not if I enjoy 
the supreme felicity of being remembered by you ; but " 

She interrupted him, with a smile and a glance of infinite 
sweetness — " Oh, yes," she said. 

" She has a good memory," observed Fleur-de-Lys. 

" Well," resumed Phoebus, " but you fled in a great hurry 
that evening. Were you frightened of me ? " 

" Oh, no," answered the gipsy. And in the tone of this 


Danger in Confiding a Secret to a Goat 

" Oh, no," following on the " Oh, yes," there was an inde- 
finable something which stabbed poor Fleur-de-Lys to the 

" You left in your stead, ma belle," continued the soldier, 
whose tongue was loosened now that he spoke to a girl of 
the streets, " a wry-faced, one-eyed hunchback varlet — the 
Bishop's bell-ringer, by what I can hear. They tell me he 
is an archdeacon's bastard and a devil by birth. He has a 
droll name too — Ember Week — Palm Sunday — Shrove Tues- 
day — something of that kind — some bell-ringing festival name, 
at any rate. And so he had the assurance to carry you off, 
as if you were made for church beadles ! It was like his 
impudence. And what the devil did he want with you, this 
screech-owl, eh ? " 

" I do not know," she answered. 

" Conceive of such insolence ! A bell-ringer to carry off 
a girl, like a vicomte — a clown poaching on a gentleman's 
preserves ! Unheard-of presumption ! For the rest, he paid 
dearly for it. Master Pierrat Torterue is the roughest groom 
that ever curried a rascal ; and I can tell you, for your satis- 
faction, that your bell-ringer's hide got a thorough dressing 
at his hands." 

" Poor man ! " murmured the gipsy, recalling at these 
words the scene of the pillory. 

The captain burst out laughing. "Come de hoeiif\ your pity 
is as well-placed as a feather in a sow's tail ! May I have 
a paunch like a pope, if — " He drew up short. " Crave your 
pardon, mesdames ! I believe I was on the point of for- 
getting myself." 

" Fie, sir ! " said La Gaillefontaine. 

" He speaks to this creature in her own language," said 
Fleur-de-Lys under her breath, her vexation increasing with 
every moment. Nor was this vexation diminished by seeing 
the captain delighted with the gipsy girl, but still more with 
himself, turn on his heel and repeat with blatant and soldier- 
like gallantry : " A lovely creature, on my soul ! " 

" Very barbarously dressed ! " observed Diane de Chris- 
teuil, showing her white teeth. 

This remark was a flash of light to the others. It shoAved 
them where to direct their attack on the gipsy. There being 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

no vulnerable spot in her beauty, they threw themselves upon 
her dress. 

" That is very true," said La Montmichel. " Pray, how 
comest thou to be running thus barenecked about the streets, 
without either gorget or kerchief? " 

" And a petticoat so short as to fill one with alarm," added 
La Gaillefontaine. 

" My girl," continued Fleur-de-Lys spitefully, " thou wilt 
certainly be fined for that gold belt." 

" My poor girl," said Diane, with a cruel smile, " if thou 
hadst the decency to wear sleeves on thy arms, they would 
not be so burned by the sun." 

It was a sight worthy of a more intelligent spectator 
than Phoebus, to watch how these high-born maidens darted 
their envenomed tongues, and coiled and glided and wound 
serpent-like about the hapless dancing girl. Smiling and 
cruel, they pitilessly searched and appraised all her poor 
artless finery of spangles and tinsel. Then followed the heart- 
less laugh, the cutting irony, humiliations without end. Sar- 
casm, supercilious praise, and spiteful glances descended on 
the gipsy girl from every side. One might have judged them 
to be those high-born Roman ladies who amused themselves 
by thrusting golden pins into the bosom of a beautiful slave, 
or graceful greyhounds circling with distended nostrils and 
flaming eyes round some poor hind of the forest, and only 
prevented by their master's eye from devouring it piecemeal. 
And what was she after all to these high-born damsels but a 
miserable dancing girl of the streets ? They seemed to ignore 
the fact of her presence altogether, and spoke of her to her 
face as of something degraded and unclean, though diverting 
enough to make jest of. 

The Egyptian was not insensible to these petty stings. 
From time to time a blush of shame burned in her cheek, a 
flash of anger in her eyes ; a disdainful retort seemed to trem- 
ble on her lips, and she made the little contemptuous pout 
with which the reader is familiar. But she remained silent, 
motionless, her eyes fixed on Phoebus with a look of resigna- 
tion infinitely sweet and sad. In this gaze there mingled, too, 
both joy and tenderness ; she seemed to restrain herself for 
fear of being driven away. 


Danger in Confiding a Secret to a Goat 

As for Phoebus, he laughed and took the gipsy's part with 
a mixture of impertinence and pity. 

" Let them talk, child ! " he said, jingling his gold spurs. 
" Doubtless your costume is somewhat strange and extrava- 
gant ; but when a girl is so charming as you, what does 
it matter?" 

" Mon Dieu! " cried La Gaillefontaine, drawing up her swan- 
like neck, with a bitter smile. " It is evident that Messieurs 
the King's archers take fire easily at the bright gipsy eyes." 

"Why not?" said Phoebus. 

At this rejoinder, uttered carelessly by the captain, as one 
throws a stone at random without troubling to see where it 
falls, Colombe began to laugh and Amolette and Diane and 
Fleur-de-Lys, though a tear rose at the same time to the 
eye of the latter. 

The gipsy girl, who had dropped her eyes as Colombe and 
La Gaillefontaine spoke, raised them now all radiant with joy 
and pride and fixed them again on Phoebus. At that mo- 
ment she was dazzlingly beautiful. 

The elder lady, while she observed the scene, felt vaguely 
incensed without knowing exactly why. 

" Holy Virgin ! " she suddenly exclaimed, " what is this 
rubbing against my legs ? Ah, the horrid beast ! " 

It was the goat, just arrived in search of its mistress, and 
which, in hurrying towards her, had got its horns entangled in 
the voluminous folds of the noble lady's gown, which always 
billowed round her wherever she sat. 

This caused a diversion, and the gipsy silently freed the 
little creature. 

" Ah, it is the little goat with the golden hoofs ! " cried 
Berangere, jumping with joy. 

The gipsy girl crouched on her knees and pressed her 
cheek fondly against the goat's sleek head, as if begging its 
forgiveness for having left it behind. 

At this Diane bent over and whispered in Colombe's ear: 
"Ah, how did I not think of it before? This is the gipsy 
girl with the goat. They say she is a witch, and that her 
goat performs some truly miraculous tricks." 

" Very well," said Colombe ; " then let the goat amuse us 
in its turn, and show us a miracle." 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

Diane and Colombe accordingly addressed the gipsy 

" Girl, make thy goat perform a miracle for us." 

" I do not know what you mean," answered the gipsy. 

" A miracle — a conjuring trick — a feat of witchcraft, 
in fact." 

" I do not understand," she repeated, and fell to caressing 
the pretty creature again, murmuring fondly, " Djali ! Djali ! " 

At that moment Fleur-de-Lys remarked a little embroid- 
ered leather bag hanging round the goat's neck. " What is 
that?" she asked of the gipsy. 

The gipsy raised her large eyes to her and answered 
gravely, " That is my secret." 

Meanwhile the lady of the house had risen. " Come, gipsy 
girl," she exclaimed angrily ; " if thou and thy goat will not 
dance for us, what do you here ? " 

Without a word the gipsy rose and turned towards the 
door. But the nearer she approached it, the more reluctant 
became her step. An irresistible magnet seemed to hold her 
back. Suddenly she turned her brimming eyes on Phoebus, 
and stood still. 

" Vrai Dieti!" cried the captain, "you shall not leave us 
thus. Come back and dance for us. By-the-bye, sweetheart, 
how are you called ? " 

" Esmeralda," answered the dancing girl, without taking 
her eyes oflf him. 

At this strange name the girls burst into a chorus of 

" Truly a formidable name for a demoiselle ! " sneered 

" You see now," said Amelotte, " that she is a sorceress." 

" Child," exclaimed Dame Alo'ise solemnly, " your parents 
never drew that name for you out of the baptismal font ! " 

For some minutes past Berangere, to w'hom nobody was 
paying any attention, had managed to entice the goat into 
a corner with a piece of marchpane, and immediately they 
had become the best of friends. The inquisitive child had 
then detached the little bag from the goat's neck, opened it, 
and emptied its contents on to the floor. It was an alphabet, 
each letter being written separately on a small tablet of wood. 


Danger in Confiding a Secret to a Goat 

No sooner were these toys displayed on the matting than, to 
the child's delighted surprise, the goat (of whose miracles this 
was no doubt one) proceeded to separate certain letters with 
her golden fore-foot, and by dint of pushing them gently 
about ranged them in a certain order. In a minute they 
formed a word, which the goat seemed practised in composing, 
to judge by the ease with which she accomplished the task. 
Berangere clasped her hands in admiration. 

" Godmother Fleur-de-Lys," she cried, " come and see 
what the goat has done ! " 

Fleur-de-Lys ran to look, and recoiled at the sight. The 
letters disposed upon the floor formed the word, 


"The goat put that word together?" she asked excitedly. 

" Yes, godmother," answered Berangere. It was impos- 
sible to doubt it ; the child could not spell. 

" So this is the secret," thought Fleur-de-Lys. 

By this time the rest of the party had come forward to 
look — the mother, the girls, the gipsy, the young soldier. 

The Bohemian saw the blunder the goat had involved her 
in. She turned red and white, and then began to tremble like 
a guilty creature before the captain, who gazed at her with a 
smile of satisfaction and astonishment. 

"Phoebus!" whispered the girls in amazement; "that is 
the name of the captain ! " 

" You have a wonderful memory ! " said Fleur-de-Lys to 
the stupefied gipsy girl. Then, bursting into tears : " Oh," 
she sobbed, " she is a sorceress ! " While a still more bitter 
voice whispered in her inmost heart, " She is a rival ! " And 
she swooned in her mother's arms. 

" My child ! my child ! " cried the terrified mother. " Be- 
gone, diabolical gipsy ! " 

In a trice Esmeralda gathered up the unlucky letters, 
made a sign to Djali, and quitted the room by one door, as 
they carried Fleur-de-Lys out by another. 

Captain Phoebus, left alone, hesitated a moment between 
the two doors — then followed the gipsy girl. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 




The priest whom the young girls had remarked leaning 
over the top of the north tower of the Cathedral and gazing 
so intently at the gipsy's dancing, was no other than the 
Archdeacon Claude Frollo. 

Our readers have not forgotten the mysterious cell which 
the archdeacon had appropriated to himself in this tower. 
(By the way, I do not know but what it is the same, the 
interior of which may be seen to this day through a small 
square window, opening to the east at about a man's height 
from the floor upon the platform from which the towers 
spring — a mere den now, naked, empty, and falling to decay, 
the ill-plastered walls of which are decorated here and there, 
at the present moment, by some hideous yellow engravings 
of cathedral fronts. I presume that this hole is jointly inhab- 
ited by bats and spiders, so that a double war of extermination 
is being carried on there against the flies.) 

Every day, an hour before sunset, the archdeacon mounted 
the stair of the tower and shut himself up in this cell, where 
he sometimes spent whole nights. On this day, just as he 
reached the low door of his retreat and was preparing to insert 
in the lock the small and intricate key he always carried about 
with him in the pouch hanging at his side, the jingle of a 
tambourine and of castanets suddenly smote on his ear, rising 
up from the Place du Parvis. The cell, as we have said, had 
but one window looking over the transept roof. Claude 
Frollo hastily withdrew the key, and in another moment was 
on the summit of the tower, in that gloomy and intent attitude 
in which he had been observed by the group of girls. 

There he stood, grave, motionless, absorbed in one object, 
one thought. All Paris was spread out at his feet, with her 
thousand turrets, her undulating horizon, her river winding 
under the bridges, her stream of people flowing to and fro 
in the streets ; with the cloud of smoke rising from her many 
chimneys; with her chain of crested roofs pressing in ever 


A Priest and a Philosopher 

tightening coils round about Notre-Dame. But in all that 
great city the Archdeacon beheld but one spot — the Place du 
Parvis; and in that crowd but one figure — that of the gipsy 

It would have been difficult to analyze the nature of that 
gaze, or to say whence sprang the flame that blazed in it. 
His eyes were fixed and yet full of anguish and unrest ; and 
from the profound immobility of his whole body, only faintly 
agitated now and then by an involuntary tremor, like a tree 
shaken by the wind ; from his rigid arms, more stony than 
the balustrade on which they leaned, and the petrified smile 
that distorted his countenance, you would have said that 
nothing of Claude Frollo was alive save his eyes. 

The gipsy girl was dancing and twirling her tambourine 
on the tip of her finger, throwing it aloft in the air while 
she danced the Pfovengal saraband ; agile, airy, joyous, wholly 
unconscious of the sinister gaze falling directly on her head. 

The crowd swarmed round her; from time to time, a man 
tricked out in a long red and yellow coat, went round to 
keep the circle clear, and then returned to a seat a few paces 
from the dancer, and took the head of the goat upon his knee. 
This man appeared to be the companion of the gipsy girl. 
Claude Frollo, from his elevated position, could not distin- 
guish his features. 

No sooner had the Archdeacon caught sight of this indi- 
vidual, than his attention seemed divided between him and 
the dancer, and his face became more and more overcast. 
Suddenly he drew himself up, and a tremor ran through his 
whole frame. " Who can that man be ? " he muttered between 
his teeth ; " I have always seen her alone hitherto." 

He then vanished under the winding roof of the spiral 
staircase, and proceeded to descend. As he passed the half- 
open door of the belfry, he saw something which made him 
pause. It was Quasimodo, leaning out of an opening in one 
of the great projecting slate eaves and likewise looking 
down into the Place, but so profoundly absorbed in con- 
templation that he was unaware of the passing of his adopted 
father. His savage eye had a singular expression — a mingled 
look of fondness and delight. 

" How strange ! " murmured Claude. " Can he too be 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

looking at the Egyptian ? " He continued his descent, and 
in a few moments the troubled Archdeacon entered the Place 
by the door at the bottom of the tower. 

" What has become of the gipsy ? " said he, as he mingled 
with the crowd which the sound of the tambourine had drawn 
together. ; 

" I know not," answered a bystander ; " she has just dis- 
appeared. They called to her from the house opposite, and 
so I think she must have gone to dance fandango 

Instead of the Egyptian, on the same carpet, of which the 
arabesques but a moment before seemed to vanish beneath 
the fantastic weavings of her dances, the Archdeacon now- 
beheld only the red and yellow man ; who, in order to earn 
an honest penny in his turn, was parading round the circle, 
his arms akimbo, his head thrown back, very red in the face, 
and balancing a chair between his teeth. On this chair he 
had fastened a cat which a woman in the crowd had lent him, 
and which w^as swearing with fright. 

" Notre-Dame ! " cried the Archdeacon, as the mounte- 
bank, the perspiration pouring off his face, passed before him 
with his pyramid of cat and chair — " What does Maitre Pierre 
Gringoire here ? " 

The stern voice of the Archdeacon so startled the poor 
devil that he lost his balance, and w'ith it his whole erection, 
and the chair and the cat came toppling over right on to the 
heads of the spectators and in the midst of a deafening uproar. 

It is probable that Pierre Gringoire (for it was indeed he) 
would have had a fine account to settle with the owner of 
the cat, not to speak of all the bruised and scratched faces 
round him, had he not hastily availed himself of the tumult 
and taken refuge in the Cathedral, whither Claude Frolio 
beckoned him to follow. 

The Cathedral was already dark and deserted, the transepts 
were full of deepest shadow, and the lamps of the chapels were 
beginning to twinkle like stars under the black vault of the 
roof. The great central rose-w'indow alone, whose thousand 
tints were flooded by a horizontal stream of evening svmshine, 
gleamed in the shadow like a star of diamonds and cast its 
dazzling image on the opposite side of the nave, 


A Priest and a Philosopher 

When they had proceeded a few steps, Dom Claude leaned 
against a pillar and regarded Gringoire steadfastly. This look 
was not the one Gringoire had feared to encounter in his 
shame at being surprised by so grave and learned a per- 
sonage in his merry-andrew costume. There was in the 
priest's gaze no touch of disdain or mockery; it was seri- 
ous, calm, and searching. The Archdeacon was the first to 
break silence. 

" Now, Maitre Pierre, you have many things to explain 
to me. And first, how comes it that I have seen nothing of 
you for the last two months, and then find you in the public 
street in noble guise i' sooth ! — part red, part yellow, like 
a Caudebec apple ! " 

" Messire," answered Gringoire plaintively, " it is in very 
truth a preposterous outfit, and you behold me about as com- 
fortable as a cat with a pumpkin on its head. It is, I acknowl- 
edge, an ill deed on my part to expose the gentlemen of the 
watch to the risk of belabouring, under this motley coat, the 
back of a Pythagorean philosopher. But what would you, 
my reverend master? The fault lies with my old doublet, 
which basely deserted me at the beginning of winter under 
the protest that it was falling in rags, and that it was under 
the necessity of reposing itself in the ragman's pack. Que 
faire? Civilization has not yet reached that point that one 
may go quite naked, as old Diogenes would have wished. 
Add to this that the wind blew very cold, and the month of 
January is not the season to successfully initiate mankind into 
this new mode. This coat offered itself, I accepted it, and 
abandoned my old black tunic, which, for a hermetic such 
as I am, was far from being hermetically closed. Behold me 
then, in my buffoon's habit, like Saint-Genestus. What would 
you have? — it is an eclipse. Apollo, as you know, tended the 
flocks of Admetes." 

"A fine trade this you have adopted ! " remarked the Arch- 

" I admit, master, that it is better to philosophize and 
poetize, to blow fire in a furnace or receive it from heaven, 
than to be balancing cats in the public squares. And when 
you suddenly addressed me, I felt as stupid as an ass in front 
of a roasting-pit. But what's to be done, messire ? One must 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

eat to live, and the finest Alexandrine verses are nothing 
between the teeth as compared with a piece of cheese. Now, 
I composed for the Lady Margaret of Flanders that famous 
epithalamium, as you know-, and the town has not paid me 
' for it, pretending that it was not good enough ; as if for four 
crowns you could give them a tragedy of Sophocles ! Hence, 
see you, I was near dying of hunger. Happily I am fairly 
strong in the jaws ; so I said to my jaw : ' Perform some feats 
of strength and equilibrium — feed yourself. Ale fe ipsain.' 
A band of vagabonds who are become my very good friends, 
taught me twenty different herculean feats ; and now I feed 
my teeth every night with the bread they have earned in the 
day. After all, concedo, I concede that it is but a sorry employ 
of my intellectual faculties, and that man is not made to pass 
his life in tambourining and carrying chairs in his teeth. But, 
reverend master, it is not enough to pass one's life; one 
must keep it." 

Dom Claude listened in silence. Suddenly his deep-set 
eye assumed so shrewd and penetrating an expression that 
Gringoire felt that the innermost recesses of his soul were 
being explored. 

" Very good, Master Pierre ; but how is it that you are 
now in company with this Egyptian dancing girl ? " 

" Faith ! " returned Gringoire, " because she is my wife 
and I am her husband." 

The priest's sombre eyes blazed. 

" And hast thou done that, villain ! " cried he, grasping 
Gringoire furiously by the arm ; " hast thou been so aban- 
doned of God as to lay hand on this girl ? " 

" By my hope of paradise, reverend sir," replied Grin- 
goire, trembling in every limb, " I swear to you that I have 
never touched her, if that be what disturbs you." 

" What then is thy talk of husband and wife ? " said the 

Gringoire hastened to relate to him as succinctly as possi- 
ble what the reader already knows : his adventure in the Court 
of Miracles and his broken-pitcher marriage. The marriage 
appeared as yet to have had no result whatever, the gipsy girl 
continuing every night to defraud him of his conjugal rights 
as on that first one. " 'Tis mortifying, and that's the truth," 


A Priest and a Philosopher 

he concluded ; '' but it all comes of my having had the ill-luck 
to espouse a virgin." 

" What do you mean ? " asked the Archdeacon, whom the 
tale gradually tranquillized. 

" It is difficult to explain," returned the poet. " There is 
superstition in it. My wife, as an old thief among us called 
the Duke of Egypt has told me, is a foundling — or a lostling, 
which is the same thing. She wears about her neck an 
amulet which, they declare, will some day enable her to find 
her parents again, but which would lose its virtue if the girl 
lost hers. Whence it follows that we both of us remain per- 
fectly virtuous." 

" Thus, you believe, Maitre Pierre," resumed Claude, 
whose brow was rapidly clearing, " that this creature has 
never yet been approached by any man?" 

" Why, Dom Claude, how should a man fight against a 
superstition? She has got that in her head. I hold it to 
be rare enough to find this nunlike prudery keeping itself 
so fiercely aloof among all these easily conquered gipsy girls. 
But she has three things to protect her: the Duke of Egypt, 
who has taken her under his wing, reckoning, may-be, to sell 
her later on to some fat abbot or other ; her whole tribe, who 
hold her in singular veneration, like the Blessed Virgin her- 
self; and a certain pretty little dagger, which the jade always 
carries about with her, despite the provost's ordinances, and 
which darts out in her hand when you squeeze her waist. 
'Tis a fierce wasp, believe me ! " 

The Archdeacon pressed Gringoire with questions. 

By Gringoire's account, Esmeralda was a harmless and 
charming creature; pretty, apart from a little grimace which 
was peculiar to her ; artless and impassioned ; ignorant of 
everything and enthusiastic over everything; fond above all 
things of dancing, of all the stir and movement of the open 
air; not dreaming as yet of the difference between man and 
woman ; a sort of human bee, with invisible wings to her feet, 
and living in a perpetual whirlwind. She owed this nature to 
the wandering life she had led. Gringoire had ascertained 
that, as quite a little child, she had gone all through Spain 
and Catalonia, and into Sicily ; he thought even that the cara- 
van of Zingari, to which she belonged, had carried her into 
M 255 ^°^- 4 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

the kingdom of Algiers — a country situated in Achaia, which 
Achaia was adjoining on one side to lesser Albania and 
Greece, and on the other to the sea of the Sicilies, which is 
the way to Constantinople. The Bohemians, said Gringoire, 
were vassals of the King of Algeria, in his capacity of Chief 
of the nation of the White Moors. Certain it was that Esme- 
ralda had come into France while yet very young by way of 
Hungary. From all these countries the girl had brought 
with her 'fragments of fantastic jargons, outlandish songs and 
ideas which made her language almost as motley as her half- 
Egyptian, half-Parisian costume. For the rest, the people 
of the quarters which she frequented loved her for her gaiety, 
her kindness, her lively ways, for her dancing and her songs. 
In all the town she believed herself to be hated by two persons 
only, of whom she often spoke with dread : the sachcttc_s>i., 
the Tour-Roland, an evil-tempered recluse who cherished.,an 
unreasoning malice against gipsies, and who cursed the poor 
dancer every time she passed before her window ; and a priest, 
who never crossed her path without hurling at her words and 
looks that terrified her. This last circumstance perturbed the 
Archdeacon greatly, though Gringoire paid no heed to the 
fact, the two months that had elapsed having sufficed to 
obliterate from the thoughtless poet's mind the singular de- 
tails of that evening on which he had first encountered the 
gipsy girl, and the circumstance of the Archdeacon's presence 
on that occasion. For the rest, the little dancer feared noth- 
ing; she did not tell fortunes, and consequently was secure 
from those persecutions for magic so frequently instituted 
against the gipsy women. And then Gringoire was at least 
a brother to her, if he could not be a husband. After all, the 
philosopher endured very patiently this kind of platonic mar- 
riage. At all events it insured him food and a lodging. Each 
morning he set out from the thieves' quarter, most frequently 
in company with the gipsy girl ; he helped her to gain her 
little harvest of small coin in the streets ; and each evening 
they returned to the same roof, he let her bolt herself into her 
own little chamber, and then slept the sleep of the just. A very 
agreeable existence on the whole, said he, and very favourable 
to reflection. Besides, in his heart and inner conscience, the 
philosopher was not quite sure that he was desperately in love 


A Priest and a Philosopher 

with the gipsy. He loved her goat almost as much. It was 
a charming beast, gentle, intelligent, not to say intellectual ; 
a goat of parts. (Nothing was commoner in the Middle Ages 
than these trained animals, which created immense wonder- 
ment among the uninitiated, but frequently brought their in- 
structor to the stake.) However, the sorceries of the goat with 
the gilded hoofs were of a very innocent nature. Gringoire 
explained them to the Archdeacon, who appeared strangely in- 
terested in these particulars. In most cases it was sulBcient to 
present the tambourine to the goat in such or such a manner, 
for it to perform the desired trick. It had been trained to 
this by its mistress, who had such a singular talent for these 
devices that two months had sufficed her to teach the goat to 
compose, with movable letters, the word Phcebiis. 

"'Phoebus!'" said the priest; "why 'Phoebus'?" 

" I do not know," answered Gringoire. " Perhaps it is 
a word that she thinks endowed with some magic and secret 
virtue. She often murmurs it to herself when she believes 
herself alone." 

" Are you sure," rejoined Claude, with his searching look, 
"that it is only a word — that it is not a name?" 

" The name of whom ? " said the poet. 

" How should I know ? " said the priest. 

" This is what I imagine, messire. These Bohemians are 
something of Guebers, and worship the sun : hence this 

" That does not seem so evident to me as it does to you, 
Maitre Pierre." 

" After all, it's no matter to me. Let her mumble her 
Phoebus to her heart's content. What I know for certain is 
that Djali loves me already almost as much as her mistress." 

"Who is DjaH?" 

" That is the goat." 

The Archdeacon leant his chin on his hand and seemed 
to reflect for a moment. Suddenly he turned brusquely to 
Gringoire : 

" And you swear to me that you have not touched her ? " 

" Whom ? " asked Gringoire ; " the goat ? " 

" No, this woman." 

" My wife ? I swear I have not." 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

" And yet you are often alone with her." 

" Every night for a full hour." 

Doni Claude frowned. " Oh ! oh ! Solus aim sola non 
cogitabuntiir orare Pater Noster." * 

" By my soul, I might say Paters and Are Marias and 
the Credo w-ithout her paying any more attention to me than 
a hen to a church." 

" Swear to me, by thy mother's body," said the Archdeacon 
vehemently, " that thou hast not so much as touched that 
woman with the tip of thy finger." 

" I will swear it too by my father's head, for the two things 
have more than one connection. But, reverend master, per- 
mit me one question in return." 

" Speak, sir." 

" What does that signify to you ? " 

The Archdeacon's pale face flushed like the cheek of a 
young girl. He was silent for a moment, and then replied 
with visible embarrassment : 

" Hark you, Maitre Pierre Gringoire. You are not yet 
damned, as far as I know. I am interested in you, and wish 
you well. Now, the slightest contact with that demon of a 
gipsy girl will infallibly make you a servant of Satanas. You 
know 'tis always the body that ruins the soul. Woe betide 
you if you come nigh that woman ! I have spoken." 

" I did try it once," said Gringoire, scratching his ear. 
" That was on the first day, but I only got stung for my pains." 

" You had that temerity, Maitre Gringoire ? " and the 
priest's brow darkened again. 

" Another time," continued the poet, with a grin, " before 
I went to bed, I looked through her key-hole, and beheld the 
most delicious damsel in her shift that ever made a bedstead 
creak under her naked foot." 

" To the foul fiend with thee ! " cried the priest, with a 
look of fury ; and thrusting the amazed Gringoire from him 
by the shoulder, he plunged with long strides into the impene- 
trable gloom of the Cathedral arches. 

* A man and a woman alone together will not think of saying Pater 


The Bells 



Since his taste of the pillory, the neighbours in the vicinity 
of Notre-Dame thought tliey perceived a remarkable abate- 
ment in Quasimodo's rage for bell-ringing. Before that time 
the smallest excuse set the bells going — long morning chimes 
that lasted from prime to compline ; full peals for a high 
mass, full-toned runs flashing up and down the smaller bells 
for a wedding or a christening, and filling the air with an 
exquisite network of sweet sound. The ancient minster, 
resonant and vibrating to her foundations, lived in a perpetual 
jubilant tumult of bells. Some self-willed spirit of sound 
seemed to have entered into her and to be sending forth a 
never-ending song from all those brazen throats. And now 
that spirit had departed. The Cathedral seemed wilfully to 
maintain a sullen silence. Festivals and burials had their 
simple accompaniment, plain and meagre — what the Church 
demanded — not a note beyond. Of the two voices that pro- 
ceed from a church — that of the organ within and the bells 
without — only the organ remained. It seemed as though 
there were no longer any musicians in the belfries. Never- 
theless, Quasimodo was still there ; what had come over him ? 
Was it that the shame and despair of the pillory still lingered 
in his heart, that his soul still quivered under the lash of the 
torturer, that his horror of such treatment had swallowed up 
all other feeling in him, even his passion for the bells? — or 
was it rather that Marie had a rival in the heart of the bell- 
ringer of Notre-Dame, and that the great bell and her 
fourteen sisters were being neglected for something more 
beautiful ? 

It happened that in this year of grace 1 482, Jji^e Feast qi 
the^ArmTtnciation fell on Tuesday; tlTe-^Jtirof March, On 
that day the air was so pure and light that Quasimodo ielt 
some return of affection for his bells. He accordingly as- 
CCTided the northern tower, while the beadle below threw 
wide the great doors of the church, which consisted, at that 
time, of enormous panels of strong wood, padded with leather, 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

bordered with gilded iron nails, and framed in carving " very 
skilfully wrought." 

Arrived in the lofty cage of the bells, Quasimodo gazed 
for some time with a sorrowful shake of the head at his six 
singing birds, as if he mourned over something alien that 
had come between him and his old loves. But when he had 
set them going, when he felt the whole cluster of bells move 
under his hands, when he saw — for he could not hear it — 
the palpitating octave ascending and descending in that 
enormous diapason, like a bird fluttering from bough to 
bough — when the demon of music, with his dazzling shower 
of stretti, trills, and arpeggios, had taken possession of the 
poor deaf creature, then he became happy once more, he 
forgot his former woes, and as the weight lifted from his 
heart his face lit up with joy. 

To and fro he hurried, clapped his hands, ran from one 
rope to the other, spurring on his six singers with mouth 
and hands, like the conductor of an orchestra urging highly 
trained musicians. 

" Come, Gabrielle," said he, " come now, pour all thy voice 
into the Place, to-day is high festival. Thibauld, bestir thy- 
self, thou art lagging behind ; on with thee, art grown rusty, 
sluggard ? That is well — quick ! quick ! let not the clapper 
be seen. Make them all deaf like me. That's the way, my 
brave Thibauld ! Guillaume ! Guillaume ! thou art the big- 
gest, and Pasquier is the smallest, and yet Pasquier works 
better than thou. I warrant that those who can hear would 
say so too. Right so, my Gabrielle ! louder, louder ! Hey ! 
you two up there, you sparrows, what are you about? I 
do not see you make the faintest noise? What ails those 
brazen beaks of yours that look to be yawning when they 
should be singing ? Up, up, to your work ! 'Tis the Feast 
of the Annunciation. The sun shines bright, and we'll have 
a merry peal. What, Guillaume ! Out of breath, my poor 
fat one! " 

He was entirely absorbed in urging on his bells, the whole 
six of them rearing and shaking their polished backs like a 
noisy team of Spanish mules spurred forward by the cries 
of the driver. 

Happening, however, to glance between the large slate 



tiles which cover, up to a certain height, the perpendicular 
walls of the steeple, he saw down in the square a fantastically 
dressed girl spreading out a carpet, on which a little goat 
came and took up its position and a group of spectators formed 
a circle round. This sight instantly changed the current of 
his thoughts, and cooled his musical enthusiasm as a breath 
of cold air congeals a stream of flowing resin. He stood still, 
turned his back on the bells, and crouching down behind the 
slate eaves fixed on the dancer that dreamy, tender, and soft- 
ened look which once already had astonished the Archdeacon. 
Meanwhile the neglected bells suddenly fell silent, to the great 
disappointment of lovers of carillons who were listening in 
all good faith from the Pont-au-Change, and now went away 
as surprised and disgusted as a dog that has been offered a 
bone and gets a stone instead. 



One fine morning in this same month of March — it was 
Saturday, the 29th, St. Eustache's Day, I think — our young 
friend, Jehan Frollo of the Mill, discovered, while putting on 
his breeches, that his purse gave forth no faintest chink of 
coin. " Poor purse ! " said he, drawing it out of his pocket, 
"what, not a single little parisis? How cruelly have dice, 
Venus, and pots of beer disembowelled thee ! Behold thee 
empty, wrinkled, and flabby, like the bosom of a fury! I 
would ask you, Messer Cicero and Messer Seneca, whose dog- 
eared volumes I see scattered upon the floor, of what use is 
it for me to know better than any master of the Mint or a 
Jew of the Pont-au-Changeurs, that a gold crown piece is 
worth thirty-five unzain at twenty-five sous eight deniers 
parisis each, if I have not a single miserable black Hard to 
risk upon the double-six? Oh, Consul Cicero! this is not 
a calamity from which one can extricate one's self by peri- 
phrases — by quemadmodtim, and verum enim vero! " 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

He completed his toilet dejectedly. An idea occurred to 
him as he was lacing his boots which he at first rejected: it 
returned, however, and he put on his vest WTong side out, a 
sure sign of a violent inward struggle. At length he cast 
his cap vehement!}' on the ground, and exclaimed : " Be it so ! 
the worst has come to the worst — I shall go to my brother. 
I shall catch a sermon, I know, but also I shall catch a 
crown piece." 

He threw himself hastily into his fur-edged gown, picked 
up his cap, and rushed out with an air of desperate resolve. 

He turned down the Rue de la Harpe towards the City. 
Passing the Rue de la Huchette, the odour wafted from those 
splendid roasting-spits Avhich turned incessantly, tickled his 
olfactory ner\^es, and he cast a lustful eye into the Cyclopean 
kitchen which once extorted from the Franciscan monk, Cala- 
tigiron, the pathetic exclamation : " Veramcntc, qucstc rotisscrie 
sono cosa sfupcnda!" But Jehan had not the wherewithal to 
obtain a breakfast, so with a profound sigh he passed on 
under the gateway of the Petit-Chatelet, the enormous double 
trio of massive towers guarding the entrance to the City. 

He did not even take time to throw the customary stone 
at the dishonoured statue of that Perinet Leclerc who betrayed 
the Paris of Charles VI to the English, a crime which his 
eflfigy, its face all battered w'ith stones and stained with mud, 
expiated during three centuries at the corner of the tffeels 
de la Harpe and de Bussy, as on an everlasting pillory. 

Having crossed the Petit-Pont and w-alked down the Rue 
Neuve-Sainte-Genevieve, Jehan de Molendino found himself 
in front of Notre-Dame. Then all his indecision returned, 
and he circled for some minutes round the statue of " Mon- 
sieur Legris," repeating to himself with a tortured mind : 

" The sermon is certain, the florin is doubtful." 

He stopped a beadle who was coming from the cloister. 
" Where is Monsieur the Archdeacon of Josas ? " 

" In his secret cell in the tower, I believe," answered the 
man ; " but I counsel you not to disturb him, unless you come 
from some one such as the Pope or the King himself." 

Jehan clapped his hands. 

" Bcdiabic! what a magnificent chance for seeing the 
famous magician's cave ! " 



This decided him, and he advanced resolutely through 
the Uttle dark doorway, and began to mount the spiral stair- 
case of Saint-Gilles, which leads to the upper stories of the 

" We shall see ! " he said as he proceeded. " By the pangs 
of the Virgin ! it must be a curious place, this cell which my 
reverend brother keeps so strictly concealed. They say he 
lights up hell's own fires there on which to cook the phi- 
losopher's stone. Bedieu! I care no more for the philoso- 
pher's stone than for a pebble ; and I'd rather find on his 
furnace an omelet of Easter eggs in lard, than the biggest 
philosopher's stone in the world ! " 

Arrived at the gallery of the colonnettes, he stopped a 
moment to take breath and to call down ten million cart- 
loads of devils on the interminable stairs. He then continued 
his ascent by the narrow doorway of the northern tower, now- 
prohibited to the public. A moment or two after passing the 
belfry, he came to a small landing in a recess with a low 
Gothic door under the vaulted roof, while a loophole opposite 
in the circular wall of the staircase enabled him to distinguish 
its enormous lock and powerful iron sheeting. Any one curi- 
ous to inspect this door at the present day will recognise it 
by this legend inscribed in white letters on the black wall : 
" J' adore Coralie, 182^. Signe, Ugene." (This signe is in- 
cluded in the inscription.) 

" Whew ! " said the scholar ; " this must be it." 

The key was in the lock, the door slightly ajar; he gently 
pushed it open and poked his head round it. 

The reader is undoubtedly acquainted with the works of 
Rembrandt — the Shakespeare of painting. Among the many 
wonderful engravings there is one etching in particular repre- 
senting, as is supposed. Doctor Faustus, which it is impossible 
to contemplate without measureless admiration. There is a 
gloomy chamber; in the middle stands a table loaded with 
mysterious and repulsive objects — death's heads, spheres, 
alembics, compasses, parchments covered with hieroglyphics. 
Behind this table, which hides the lower part of him, stands 
the Doctor wrapped in a wide gown, his head covered by a 
fur cap reaching to his eyebrows. He has partly risen from 
his immense arm-chair, his clenched fists are leaning on the 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

table, while he gazes in curiosity and terror at a luminous 
circle of magic letters shining on the wall in the background 
like the solar spectrum in a camera obscura. This cabalistic 
sun seems actually to scintillate, and fills the dim cell with its 
mysterious radiance. It is horrible and yet beautiful. 

Something very similar to Faust's study presented itself 
to Jehan's view as he ventured his head through the half-open 
door. Here, too, was a sombre, dimly lighted cell, a huge 
arm-chair, and a large table, compasses, alembics, skeletons 
of animals hanging from the ceiling, a celestial globe rolling 
on the floor, glass phials full of quivering gold-leaf, skulls 
lying on sheets of vellum covered with figures and written 
characters, thick manuscripts open and piled one upon another 
regardless of the creased corners of the parchment ; in short, 
all the rubbish of science — dust and cobwebs covering the 
whole heap. But there was no circle of luminous letters, no 
doctor contemplating in ecstasy the flamboyant vision as an 
eagle gazes at the sun. 

Nevertheless the cell was not empty. A man was seated 
in the arm-chair, leaning over the table. Jehan could see 
nothing but his broad shoulders and the back of his head ; 
but he had no difficulty in recognising that bald head, which 
nature seemed to have provided with a permanent tonsure, 
as if to mark by this external sign the irresistible clerical 
vocation of the Archdeacon. 

Thus Jehan recognised his brother; but the door had been 
opened so gently that Dom Claude was unaware of his pres- 
ence. The prying little scholar availed himself of this oppor- 
tunity to examine the cell for a few minutes at his ease. A 
large furnace, which he had not remarked before, was to the 
left of the arm-chair under the narrow window. The ray of 
light that penetrated through this opening traversed the cir- 
cular web of a spider, who had tastefully woven her delicate 
rosace in the pointed arch of the window and now sat motion- 
less in the centre of this wheel of lace. On the furnace was 
a disordered accumulation of vessels of every description, 
stone bottles, glass retorts, and bundles of charcoal. Jehan 
observed with a sigh that there was not a single cooking 

In any case there was no fire in the furnace, nor did 



any appear to have been lighted there for a long- time. A 
glass mask which Jehan noticed among the alchemistic imple- 
ments, used doubtless to protect the archdeacon's face when 
he was engaged in compounding some deadly substance, lay 
forgotten in a corner, thick with dust. Beside it lay a pair 
of bellows equally dusty, the upper side of which bore in 
letters of copper the motto : " Spiro, spero." * 

Following the favourite custom of the hermetics, the walls 
were inscribed with many legends of this description ; some 
traced in ink, others engraved with a metal point ; Gothic 
characters, Hebrew, Greek and Roman, pell-mell ; inscribed 
at random, overlapping each other, the more recent effacing 
the earlier ones, and all interlacing and mingled like the 
branches of a thicket or the pikes in a tnelee. And, in truth, 
it was a confused fray between all the philosophies, all the 
schemes, the wisdom of the human mind. Here and there 
one shone among the others like a banner among the lance- 
heads, but for the most part they consisted of some brief Latin 
or Greek sentence, so much in favour in the Middle Ages, 
such as : " Undef Indef — Homo homini monstrmn. — Astra, 
castra. — Nomen, numen. — Mcya fii/SXiov, ixiya. kukov — Sapcre 
aude. — Flat nhi vult," etc.f Or sometimes a word devoid of 
all meaning as 'Avayxo<^ayia, which perhaps concealed some 
bitter allusion to the rules of the cloister ; sometimes a simple 
maxim of monastic discipline set forth in a correct hexameter : 
" Coelestem Dominum, tcrrestrem dicite domniim." | Here and 
there, too, were obscure Hebrew passages, of which Jehan, 
whose Greek was already of the feeblest, understood nothing 
at all; and the whole crossed and recrossed in all directions 
with stars and triangles, human and animal figures, till the 
wall of the cell looked like a sheet of paper over which a 
monkey has dragged a pen full of ink. 

Altogether the general aspect of the study was one of 
complete neglect and decay ; and the shocking condition of 
the implements led inevitably to the conclusion that their 

* Blow, hope. 

f Whence, whither? — Man is a monster unto men.- -The stars, a for- 
tress. — The name, a wonder. — A great book, a great t 'il. — Dare to be 
wise. — It bloweth where it listeth. 

J Account the Lord of heaven thy ruler upon earth. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

owner had long been diverted from his labours by pursuits 
of some other kind. 

'Jlie said owner, meanwhile, bending- over a vast manu- 
script adorned with bizarre paintings, appeared to be tor- 
mented by some idea which incessantly interrupted his medita- 
tions. So at least jehan surmised as he listened to his mus- 
ing aloud, with the intermittent pauses of a person talking in 
his dreams. 

" Yes," he exclaimed, " Manou said it, and Zoroaster 
taught the same ! the sun is born of fire, the moon of the 
sun. Fire is the soul of the Great All, its elementar}^ atoms 
are dififused and constantly flowing by an infinity of currents 
throughout the universe. At the points where these currents 
cross each other in the heavens, they produce light ; at their 
points of intersection in the earth, they produce gold. Light 
— gold ; it is the same thing — fire in its concrete state ; merely 
flre^difiference between~tTie~ visible and the palpable, the fluid 
and the solid in the same substance, between vapour and ice 
— nothing more. This is no dream ; it is the universal law of 
Nature. But how to extract from science the secret of this 
universal law? What! this light that bathes my hand is gold! 
All that is necessary is to condense by a certain law these 
same atoms dilated by certain other laws ! Yes ; but how ? 
Some have thought of bur}-ing a ray of sunshine. Averroes 
— yes, it was Averroes — buried one under the first pillar 
to the left of the sanctuary of the Koran, in the great Mosque 
of Cordova ; but the vault w^as not to be opened to see if 
the operation was successful under eight thousand years." 

" Diablc! " said Jehan to himself, " rather a long time to 
wait for a florin ! " 

" Others have thought," continued the Archdeacon mus- 
ingly, " that it were better to experiment upon a ray from 
Sirius. But it is difficult to obtain this ray pure, on account 
of the simultaneous presence of other stars whose rays mingle 
Vvith it. Flaniel .onsiders it simpler to operate with terres- 
trial fire. Flamel ! there's predestination in the very name ! 
Flamuia! yes, .ire — that is all. The diamond exists already 
in the charcoal, gold in fire — But how to extract it? Magis- 
tri affirms t'lat there are certain female names which possess 
so sweet aud mysterious a charm, that it suffices merely to 



pronounce them during the operation. L^t us see what 
]\Ianou says on the subject : * Where women are held in hon- 
our, the gods are well pleased : where they are despised, it is 
useless to pray to God, The mouth of a woman is constantly 
pure ; it is as a running stream, as a ray of sunshine. The 
namejoLa..w.Qinaii.shQuLd be pleasing, mrelodious, and give food 
to the imagination — should end in long vowels, and sound like 
ajbenedictipn.' „ YeSj yes, the sage is right ; for example, Maria 
— :;;SQphia — Esmeral— . Damnation ! Ever that thought ! " 

And he closed the book with a violent slam. 

He passed his hand over his brow as if to chase away 
the thought that haunted him. Then taking from the table 
a nail and a small hammer, the handle of which bore strange, 
painted, cabalistic figures — 

" For some time," said he with a bitter smile, " I have 
failed in all my experiments. A fixed idea possesses me, and 
tortures my brain like the presence of a fiery stigma. I have 
not even succeeded in discovering the secret of Cassiodorus, 
whose lamp burned without wick or oil. Surely a simple 
matter enough ! " 

" The devil it is ! " muttered Jehan between his teeth. 

" One miserable thought, then," continued the priest, " suf- 
fices to sap a man's will and render him feeble-minded. Oh, 
how Claude Pernelle would mock at me — she who could not 
for one moment divert Nicholas Flamel from the pursuit of 
his great work ! What ! I hold in my hand the magic hammer 
of Zechieles! At every blow which, from the depths of his 
cell, the redoubtable rabbi struck with this hammer upon 
this nail that one among his enemies whom he had con- 
demned would, even were he two thousand leagues away, 
sink an arm's length into the earth which swallowed him up. 
The King of France himself, for having one night inad- 
vertently struck against the door of the magician, sank up 
to his knees in his own pavement of Paris. This happened 
not three centuries ago. Well, I have the hammer and the 
nail, and yet these implements are no more formidable in 
my hands than a hammer in the hand of a smith. And yet 
all that is wanting is the magic word which Zechieles pro- 
nounced as he struck upon the nail." 

" A mere trifle ! " thought Jehan. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

" Come, let us try," resumed the Archdeacon eagerly. " If 
I succeed, I shall see the blue spark fly from the head of 
the nail. Emen-Heten ! Emen-Heten ! That ns not it — 
Sigeani! Sigeani ! May this nail open the grave for whomso- 
ever bears the nameoTThoebus'P^A' cur^e upon it again! 
Forever that same thought ! " 

He threw away the hammer angrily. He then sank so 
low in his arm-chair and over the table that Jehan lost sight 
of him. For some minutes he could see nothing but a hand 
clenched convulsively on a book. Suddenly Dom Claude 
arose, took a pair of compasses, and in silence engraved upon 
the wall in capitals the Greek word : 


" My brother's a fool," said Jehan to himself ; " it would 
have been much simpler to write Fatum. Everybody is not 
obliged to know Greek." 

The Archdeacon reseated himself in his chair and clasped 
his forehead between his two hands, like a sick person whose 
head is heavy and burning. 

i. The scholar watched his brother with surprise. He had 
^o conception — he who always wore his heart upon his sleeve, 
who observed no laws but the good old laws of nature, w'ho 
allowed his passions to„:9_Qw according to their natural tenden- 
cies, and in whom the 4ake_of strong emotions was always 
dry, so many fresh ch annels d id he open for it daily — he had 
no conception with what ijjjcy.-that .s e^ of human passions 
ferments and boils when it is refused all egress ; how it gathers 
strength, swells, and overflows ; how it wears away the heart ; 
how it breaks f orth_jrrTnward_sp_bs_ and stifled convulsions, 

/^ until it has rent its banks and o verflow ed its bed. The aus- 
tere and icy exterioT^ofClaude "FrolIoT that cold surface of 

r^ rugged and inaccessible virtue, had always deceived Jehan. 

>' The light-hearted scholar had never dreamed of the lava, 
deep, boiling, furious, beneath the snow of .^tna. ~ 

We do not know whether any su33en perception of this 
kind crossed Jehan's mind ; but, scatter-brained as he was, 
he understood that he had witnessed something he ought 
never to have seen ; that he had surprised the soul of his 
elder brother in one of its most secret attitudes, and that 



Claude must not discover it. Perceiving that the Archdeacon 
had fallen back into his previous immobility, he withdrew his 
head very softly and made a slight shuffling of feet behind 
the door, as of some one approaching and giving warning 
of the fact. 

" Come in ! " cried the Archdeacon, from within his cell. 
" I was expecting you, and left the key in the door on pur- 
pose. Come in, Maitre Jacques ! " 

The scholar entered boldly. The Archdeacon much em- 
barrassed by such a visitor in this particular place started 
violently in his arm-chair. 

" What ! it is you, Jehan ? " 

" A J at any rate," said the scholar, with his rosy, smiling, 
impudent face. 

The countenance of Dom Claude had resumed its severe 
expression. " What are you doing here ? " 

" Brother," answered the scholar, endeavouring to assume 
a sober, downcast, and modest demeanour, and twisting his 
cap in his hands with an appearance of artlessness, " I have 
come to beg of you," 


" A moral lesson of which I have great need," he had not 
the courage to add — " and a little money of which my need 
is still greater." The last half of his sentence remained un- 

" Sir," said the Archdeacon coldly, " I am greatly dis- 
pleased with you." 

" Alas ! " sighed the scholar. 

Dom Claude described a quarter of a circle with his chair, 
and regarded Jehan sternly. " I am very glad to see you." 

This was a formidable exordium. Jehan prepared for a 
sharp encounter. 

" Jehan, every day they bring me complaints of you. 
What is this about a scuffle in which you belaboured a cer- 
tain little vicomte, Albert de Ramonchamp?" 

" Oh," said Jehan, " a mere trifle ! An ill-conditioned 
page, who amused himself with splashing the scholars by 
galloping his horse through the mud." 

" And what is this about Mahiet Fargel, whose gown you 
have torn? ' Tunicam dechiraverunt,' says the charge." 


Notre-Dame de Paris 


Pah ! a shabby Montaigu cape. What's there to make 
such a coil about ? " 

" The complaint says tunicam, not cappettam. Do you 
understand Latin ? " 

Jehan did not reply. 

" Yes," went on the priest shaking his head, " this is what 
study and letters have come to now ! The Latin tongue is 
scarcely understood, Syriac unknown, the Greek so abhorred 
that it is not accounted ignorance in the most learned to miss 
over a Greek word when reading, and to say, Grcrcum est 
non legitur." 

The scholar raised his eyes boldly. " Brother, shall I tell 
you in good French the meaning of that Greek word over 
there upon the wall ? " 

"Which word?" 

"•ANArKH." ^ -^^^^ 

A faint flush crept into the parchment cheeks of the Arch- 
deacon, like a puflf of smoke giving warning of the unseen 
commotions of a volcano. The scholar hardly noted it. 

" Well, Jehan," faltered the elder brother with an effort, 
" what does the word mean ? " 

" Fatality." 

Dom Claude grew pale again, and the scholar went on 
heedlessly : 

" And the word underneath it, inscribed by the same hand, 
'Avayvcia, signifies ' impurity.' You see, we know our Greek." 

The Archdeacon was silent. This lesson in Greek had set 
him musing. 

Little Jehan, who had all the cunning of a spoilt child, 
judged the moment favourable for hazarding his request. 
Adopting, therefore, his most insinuating tones, he began : 

" Do you hate me so much, good brother, as to look thus 
grim on account of a few poor scufflings and blows dealt all 
in fair fight with a pack of boys and young monkeys — 
quibusdam marmosctis? You see, good brother Claude, we 
know our Latin." 

But this caressing hypocrisy failed in its customary effect 
on the severe elder brother. Cerberus would not take the 
honeyed sop. Not a furrow in the Archdeacon's brow was 
smoothed. " What are you aiming at? " he asked dryly. 



"Well, then, to be plain, it is this," answered Jehan stoutly, 
" I want money." 

At this piece of effrontery the Archdeacon at once be- 
came the school-master, the stern parent, 

" You are aware, Monsieur Jehan, that our fief of Tire- 
chappe, counting together both the ground rents and the 
rents of the twenty-one houses, only brings in twenty-nine 
livres, eleven sous, six deniers parisis. That is half as much 
again as in the time of the brothers Paclet, but it is not 

" I want some money," repeated Jehan stolidly. 

" You know that the Ecclesiastical Court decided that our 
twenty-one houses were held in full fee of the bishopric, and 
that we could only redeem this tribute by paying to his Rev- 
erence the Bishop two marks silver gilt of the value of six 
livres parisis. Now, I have not yet been able to collect these 
two marks, and you know it." 

" I know that I want money," repeated Jehan for the 
third time. 

" And what do you want it for ? " 

This question brought a ray of hope to Jehan's eyes. He 
assumed his coaxing, demure air once more. 

" Look you, dear brother Claude, I do not come to you 
Avith any bad intent. I do not purpose to squander your 
money in a tavern, or ruffle it through the streets of Paris 
in gold brocade and with my lackey behind me — cum meo 
laqiiasio. No, brother, 'tis for a good work." 

" What good work ? " asked Claude, somewhat surprised. 

" Why, two of my friends wish to purchase some swad- 
dling-clothes for the infant of a poor widow of the Haudriette 
Convent. 'Tis a charity. It will cost three florins, and I 
would like to add my contribution." 

" Who are your two friends? " 

" Pierre. I'Assommeur * and Eapliste Croque-Oison." f 

*'^Humph!" said the Archdeacon; "these are names that 
go as fitly with a good work as a bombard upon a high 

It cannot be denied that Jehan had not been happy in 

* The slaughterer. f The rook. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

the choice of names for his two friends. He felt it when it 
was too late. 

" Besides," continued the shrewd Claude, " what sort of 
swaddling-clothes are they which cost three florins — and for 
the infant of a Haudriette? Since when, pray, do the Hau- 
driette widows have babes in swaddling-clothes ? " 

Jehan broke the ice definitely. 

" Well, then, I want some money to go and see Isabeau 
la Thierrye this evening at the Val-d'Amour ! " 

" Vile profligate ! " cried the priest. 

" 'Avayva'a," retorted Jchan. 

This quotation, selected by the boy no doubt in sheer 
malice from those on the wall of the cell, produced a singular 
efifect upon the priest. He bit his lip, and his anger was 
lost in his confusion. 

" Get you gone ! " said he to Jehan ; " I am expecting 
some one." 

The scholar made one last attempt. 

" Brother Claude, give me at least one little parisis to 
get some food." 

" How far have you advanced in the Decretals of Gra- 
tian ? " asked Dom Claude. 

" I have lost my note-books." 

"Where are you in Latin classics?" 

" Somebody stole my copy of Horatius." 

" And where in Aristotle ? " 

" Faith, brother ! what Father of the Church is it who says 
that the errors of heretics have ever found shelter among the 
thickets of Aristotle's metaphysics? A straw for Aristotle! 
I will never mangle my religion on his metaphysics." 

" Young man," replied the Archdeacon, " at the last entry 
of the King into Paris, there was a gentleman named Philippe 
de Comines, who displayed embroidered on his saddle-cloth 
this motto — which I counsel you to ponder well : ' Qui non 
laborat non mandncct.' " * 

The scholar stood a moment silent, his eyes bent on the 
ground, his countenance chagrined. Suddenly he turned 
towards Claude with the quick motion of a wagtail. 

* He who will not work shall not eat. 


" So, good brother, you refuse me even a sou to buy a 
crust of bread? " 

" Qui non laborat non manducet.*' 

At this inflexible answer Jehan buried his face in his 
hands, Hke a woman sobbing, and cried in a voice of despair : 

" OtototototoI ! " 

"What do you mean by this, sir?" demanded Claude, 
taken aback at this freak. 

" Well, what ? " said the scholar, raising a pair of impudent 
eyes into which he had been thrusting his fists to make them 
appear red with tears ; " it's Greek ! it is an anapaest of ^schy- 
1ns admirably expressive of grief." And he burst into a fit 
of laughter so infectious and uncontrolled that the Archdeacon 
could not refrain from smiling. After all, it was Claude's 
own fault: why had he so spoiled the lad? 

" Oh, dear brother Claude," Jehan went on, emboldened 
by this smile, " look at my broken shoes. Is there a more 
tragic buskin in the world than a boot that gapes thus and 
puts out its tongue ? " 

The Archdeacon had promptly resumed his former severity. 

" I will send you new shoes, but no money." 

" Only one little parisis, brother," persisted the suppliant 
Jehan. " I will learn Gratian by heart, I am perfectly ready 
to believe in God, I will be a very Pythagoras of science and 
virtue. But one little parisis, for pity's sake ! Would you 
have me devoured by famine, which stands staring me in the 
face with open maw, blacker, deeper, more noisome than 
Tartarus or a monk's nose ?" 

Dom Claude shook his head — " Qui non laborat " 

Jehan did not let him finish. " Well ! " he cried, *' to the 
devil, then ! Huzza ! I'll live in the taverns, I'll fight, I'll break 
heads and wine cups, I'll visit the lasses and go to the devil ! " 

And so saying, he flung his cap against the wall and 
snapped his fingers like castanets. 

The Archdeacon regarded him gravely. " Jehan," said 
he, " you have no soul." 

" In that case, according to Epicurus, I lack an unknown 
something made of another something without a name." 

" Jehan, you must think seriously of amending your ways." 

"Ah ga!" cried the scholar, looking from his brother to 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

the alembics on the furnaces, " ever>'thing seems awry here 
■ — tempers as jvell as bottles ! " 

" Jehan, you are on a slippery downward path. Know you 
whither you are going ? " 

" To the tavern," answered Jehan promptly. 

" The tavern leads to the pillory." 

" 'Tis as good a lantern as any other, and one, may-be, with 
which Diogenes would have found his man." 

" The pillory leads to the gibbet." 

" The gibbet is a balance with a man at one end and the 
whole world at the other. It is good to be the man." 

" The gibbet leads to hell." 

" That's a good big fire." 

" Jehan, Jehan ! all this will have a bad end ! " 

" It will have had a good beginning." 

At this moment there was a sound of footsteps on the 

" Silence ! " said the Archdeacon, his finger on his lips, 
" here is Maitre Jacques. Hark you, Jehan," he added in a 
low voice, " beware of ever breathing a word of what you 
have seen or heard here. Hide yourself quickly under this 
furnace, and do not make a sound." 

The scholar was creeping under the furnace when a happy 
thought struck him. 

" Brother Claude, a florin for keeping still ! " 

" Silence ! I promise it you ! " 

" No, give it me now." 

" Take it, then ! " said the Archdeacon, flinging him his 
whole pouch angrily. Jehan crept under the furnace, and the 
door opened. 



The person who entered wore a black gown and a morose 
air. What at the first glance struck our friend Jehan (who, 
as may be supposed, so placed himself in his retreat as to 


The Two Men in Black 

be able to see and hear all at his ease) was the utter dejection 
manifest both in the garments and the countenance of the 
new-comer. There was, however, a certain meekness dif- 
fused over that face ; but it was the meekness of a cat or of a 
judge — a hypocritical gentleness. He was very gray and 
wrinkled, about sixty, with blinking eye-lids, white eye-brows, 
a pendulous lip, and large hands. When Jehan saw that it 
was nothing more — that is to say, merely some physician or 
magistrate, and that the man's nose was a long way from 
his mouth, a sure sign of stupidity — he ensconced himself 
deeper in his hole, desperate at being forced to pass an 
indefinite time in such an uncomfortable posture and such 
dull company. 

The Archdeacon had not even risen to greet this person. 
He motioned him to a stool near the door, and after a few 
moments' silence, during which he seemed to be pursuing 
some previous meditation, he remarked in a patronizing tone : 

" Good-day to you, Maitre Jacques." 

" And to you greeting, Maitre," responded the man in 

There was between these two greetings — the ofifhand 
Maitre Jacques of the one, and the obsequiour Maitre of the 
other — the difference between '' Sir " and " Your Lordship," 
of donme and doniine. It was evidently the meeting between 
master and disciple. 

" Well," said the Archdeacon, after another interval of 
silence which Maitre Jacques took care not to break, " will 
you succeed? " 

" Alas, master," replied the other with a mournful smile, 
" I use the bellows assiduously — cinders and to spare — but 
not a spark of gold." 

Dom Claude made a gesture of impatience. " That is not 
what I allude to, Maitre Jacques Charmolue, but to the charge 
against your sorcerer — Marc Cenaine, you call him, I think 
— butler to the Court of Accounts. Did he confess his wiz- 
ardry when you put him to the question ? " 

" Alas, no," replied Maitre Jacques, with his deprecating 
smile. " We have not that consolation. The man is a per- 
fect stone. We might boil him in the pig-market, and we 
should get no word out of him. However, we spare no pains 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

to arrive at the truth. Every joint is already dislocated on 
the rack ; we have put all our irons in the fire, as the old 
comic writer Plautus has it : 

' Advorsum stimulos, laminas, crucesque, compeclesque, 
Nervos, catenas, carceres, numellas, pedicas, boias.' 

But all to no purpose. That man is terrible. 'Tis love's 
labour lost ! " 

" You have found nothing fresh in his house ? " 

" Oh, yes," said Maitre Jacques, fumbling in his pouch, 
" this parchment. There are words on it that we do not 
understand. And yet, monsieur, the criminal advocate, Phi- 
lippe Lheulier, knows a little Hebrew, which he learned in an 
affair with the Jews of the Rue Kantersten, at Brussels." So 
saying, Maitre Jacques unrolled a parchment. 

" Give it to me," said the Archdeacon. " Magic pure and 
simple, Maitre Jacques ! " he cried, as he cast his eyes over 
the scroll. " ' Emen-Hetan! ' that is the cry of the ghouls when 
they arrive at the watches' Sabbath, ' Per ipsum, et cum ipso, 
et in ipso!' that is the conjuration which rebinds the devil 
in hell. ' Hax, pax, max! ' that refers to medicine — a spell 
against the bite of a mad dog. Maitre Jacques, you are 
King's attorney in the Ecclesiastical Court ; this parchment 
is an abomination." 

" We will put him again to the question. Then here is 
something else," added Maitre Jacques, fumbling once more 
in his bag, " which we found at Marc Cenaine's." 

It was a vessel of the same family as those which en- 
cumbered the furnace of Dom Claude. " Ah," said the Arch- 
deacon, " an alchemist's crucible." 

" I don't mind confessing to you," Maitre Jacques went on, 
with his timid and constrained smile, " that I have tried it over 
the furnace, but succeeded no better than with my own." 

The Archdeacon examined the vessel. " What has he 
inscribed on his crucible? ' OcJi! och! ' — the word for driving 
away fleas ? Your Marc Cenaine is an ignoramus ! I can 
well believe that you could not make gold with this ! It will 
be useful to put in your sleeping alcove in the summer, but 
for nothing more." 

" Since we are on the subject of errors," said the King's 


The Two Men in Black 

attorney, " before coming up I was studying the doorway 
down below ; is your Reverence quite sure tliat the beginnings 
of Nature's workings are represented there on the side towards 
the Hotel-Dieu, and that among the seven naked figures at 
the feet of Our Lady, that with wings to his heels is 
Mercurius ? " 

" Yes," answered the priest ; " so Augustin Nypho writes 
— that Italian doctor who had a bearded familiar which taught 
him everything. But we will go down, and I will explain it 
to you from the text." 

" Thank you, master," said Charmolue, bending to the 
ground. " By-the-bye, I had forgotten ! When do you wish 
me to arrest the little witch ? " 

"What witch?" 

" That gipsy girl, you know, who comes and dances every 
day in the Parvis, in defiance of the prohibition. She has a 
familiar spirit in the shape of a goat with devil's horns — it 
can read and write and do arithmetic — enough to hang all 
Bohemia. The charge is quite ready and would soon be 
drawn up. A pretty creature, on my soul, that dancing girl ! 
— the finest black eyes in the world — two Egyptian carbun- 
cles. When shall we begin ? " 

The Archdeacon had grown deadly pale. 

" I will let you know," he stammered in almost inaudible 
tones, then added with an effort : " Attend you to Marc 

" Never fear," answered Charmolue smiling. " As soon 
as I get back he shall be strapped down again to the leather 
bed. But it is a very devil of a man. He tires out Pierrat 
Torterue himself, who has larger hands than I. As says our 
good Plautus — 

' Nudus vincttis, centum pondo, es quando pendes per pedes' * 

The screw — that is our most effectual instrument — we shall 
try that." 

Dom Claude seemed sunk in gloomy abstraction. He 
now turned to Charmolue. " Maitre Pierrat— Maitre Jacques. 
I should sav — look to Marc Cenaine." 

* Naked and bound thou weighest a hundred pounds when hung up 
by the feet. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

" Yes, yes, Dom Claude. Poor man ! he will have suffered 
like Mummol. But what a thingnS^TJo^^cTvisit the witches' 
Sabbath ! — and he butler to the Court of Accounts, who must 
know Charlemagne's regulation : ' Stryga vd iiiasca.' * As to 
the little girl — Smelarda, as they call her— I .slialL^wait y_our_ 
orders. Ah ! as we pass through the door you will explain to 
me also the signification of that gardener painted on the wall 
just as you enter the church. Is that not the Sower? He! 
master, what are you thinking about ? " 

Dom Claude, fathoms deep in his own thoughts, was not 
listening to him. Charmolue, following the direction of his 
eyes, saw that they were fixed blankly on the spider's web 
which curtained the little window. At this moment a foolish 
fly, courting the March stmshine, threw itself against the net, 
and was caught fast. Warned by the shaking of his web, 
the enormous spider darted out of his central cell, and with 
one bound rushed upon the fly, promptly doubled it up, and 
with its horrible sucker began scooping out the victim's head. 
" Poor fly ! " said the King's attorney, and lifted his hand to 
rescue it. The Archdeacon, as if starting out of his sleep, 
held back his arm with a convulsive clutch, 

" Maitre Jacques," he cried, " let fate have its way ! " 

Maitre Jacques turned round in alarm; he felt as if his 
arm were in an iron vice. The eye of the priest was fixed, 
haggard, glaring, and remained fascinated by the horrible 
scene between the spider and the fly. 

" Ah, yes ! " the priest went on, in a voice that seemed to 
issue from the depths of his being, " there is a symbol of 
the whole story. She flies, she is joyous, she has but just 
entered life ; she courts the spring, the open air, freedom ; 
yes, but she strikes against the fatal web — the spider darts 
out, the deadly spider! Hapless dancer! Poor, doomed fly! 
Maitre Jacques, let be — it is fate ! Alas ! Claude, thou art the 
spider. But Claude, thou art also the fly! Thou didst wing 
thy flight towards knowledge, the light, the sun. Thy one 
care was to reach the pure air, the broad beams of truth 
eternal ; but in hastening towards the dazzling loophole which 
opens on another world — a world of brightness, of intelligence, 

* A witch or ghost. 

The Two Men in Black 

of true knowledge — infatuated fly ! insensate sage ! thou didst 
not see the cunning spider's web, by destiny suspended be- 
tween the light and thee; thou didst hurl thyself against it, 
poor fool, and now thou dost struggle with crushed head and 
mangled wings between the iron claws of Fate ! Maitre Jac- 
ques, let the spider work its will ! " 

" I do assure you," said Charmolue, who gazed at him in 
bewilderment, " that I will not touch it. But in pity, master, 
loose my arm ; you have a grip of iron." 

The Archdeacon did not heed him. " Oh, madman ! " 
he continued, without moving his eyes from the loophole. 
" And even if thou couldst have broken through that formida- 
ble web with thy midge's wings, thinkest thou to have at- 
tained the light ! Alas ! that glass beyond — that transparent 
obstacle, that wall of crystal harder than brass, the barrier 
between all our philosophy and the truth — how couldst thou 
have passed through that ? Oh, vanity of human knowledge ! 
how many sages have come fluttering from afar to dash their 
heads against thee ! How many clashing systems buzz vainly 
about that everlasting barrier ! " 

He was silent. These last ideas, by calling ofif his thoughts 
from himself to science, appeared to have calmed him, and 
Jacques Charmolue completely restored him to a sense of 
reality by saying : " Come, master, when are you going to 
help me towards the making of gold? I long to succeed." 

The Archdeacon shrugged his shoulders with a bitter 

" Maitre Jacques, read Michael Psellus's Dialogiis de Encr- 
gia et Opcratione Dcemonum. What we are doing is not quite 

" Speak lower, master ! I have my doubts," said Char- 
molue. " But one is forced to play the alchemist a little when 
one is but a poor attorney in the Ecclesiastical Court at thirty 
crowns tournois a year. Only let us speak low." 

At this moment a sound of chewing and crunching from 
the direction of the furnace struck on the apprehensive ear 
of Maitre Jacques. 

" What is that ? " he asked. 

It was the scholar, who, very dull and cramped in his 
hiding-place, had just discovered a stale crust and a comer 

N 279 yol. 4 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

of mouldy cheese, and had without more ado set to work 
upon both by way of breakfast and amusement. As he was 
very hungry, he made a great noise, giving full play to his 
teeth at every mouthful, and thus aroused the alarm of the 
King's attorney. 

" It is my cat," the Archdeacon hastily repUed ; " she must 
have got hold of a mouse in there." 

This explanation entirely satisfied Charmolue. " True, 
master," he said with an obsequious smile, " all great phi- 
losophers have some familiar animal. You know what Servius 
says : ' Nitllus enim locus sine genio est.' " * 

Meanwhile, Dom Claude, fearing some new freak of 
Jehan's, reminded his worthy disciple that they had the fig- 
ures in the doorway to study together. They therefore quitted 
the cell, to the enormous relief of the scholar, who had begun 
to have serious fears that his chin would take root in his knees. 




" Tc Dcum laudamus! " exclaimed Master Jehan, crawling 
out of his hole; "the two old owls have gone at last. Och! 
och! Hax! pax! max! — fleas! — mad dogs! — the devil! I've 
had enough of their conversation. My head hums like a 
belfry. And mouldy cheese into the bargain ! Well, cheer 
up ! let's be ofif with the big brother's purse and convert all 
these coins into bottles." 

He cast a look of fond admiration into the interior of the 
precious pouch, adjusted his dress, rubbed his shoes, dusted 
his shabby sleeves, which were white with ashes, whistled a 
tune, cut a lively step or two, looked about the cell to see 
if there was anything else worth taking, rummaged about the 
furnace and managed to collect a glass amulet or so by way 

* There is no place without its guardian spirit. 

Result of Oaths Uttered in a Square 

of trinket to give to Isabeaii la Thierrye, and finally opened 
the door, which his brother had left unfastened as a last 
indulgence, and which he in turn left open as a last piece 
of mischief, and descended the spiral staircase, hopping like 
a bird. In the thick darkness of the winding stairs he stum- 
bled against something which moved out of the way with a 
growl. He surmised that it was Quasimodo, which circum- 
stance so tickled his fancy that he descended the rest of the 
stairs holding his sides with laughter. He was still laughing 
when he issued out into the square. 

He stamped his foot when he found himself on level 

" Oh, most excellent and honourable pavement of Paris ! " 
he exclaimed. " Oh, cursed staircase, that would wind the 
very angels of Jacob's ladder ! What was I thinking of to go 
and thrust myself up that stone gimlet that pierces the sky, 
just to eat bearded cheese and look at the steeples of Paris 
through a hole in the wall ! " 

He went on a few steps, and caught sight of the "two 
owls " lost in contemplation of the sculpture in the doorway. 
Approaching them softly on tip-toe, he heard the Archdeacon 
say in low tones to Charmolue : " It was Guillaume of Paris 
who had the Job engraven on the lapis-lazuli coloured stone. 
Job represents the philosopher's stone, which also must be 
tried and tormented in order to become perfect, as Raymond 
Lulle says : * Sub canservatione forma specificce salva anima.' " * 

" It's all one to me," said Jehan ; " I've got the purse." 

At that moment he heard a powerful and ringing voice 
behind him give vent to a string of terrible oaths : 

" Sang-Diert! Ventre-Dieu! Be-Dieu! Corps de Dieii! 
Nomhril de Bchebuth! Nom d'un pape! Come ct tonnerre! " 

" My soul on it ! " exclaimed Jehan, " that can be no 
other than my friend Captain Phoebus ! " 

The name Phoebus reached the ear of the Archdeacon just 
as he was explaining to the King's attorney the meaning of 
the dragon hiding its tail in a caldron from which issued 
smoke and a king's head. Dom Claude started and broke 
off short to the great astonishment of Charmolue, then 

• By preserving it under a special form the soul is saved. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

turned and saw his brother Jehan accosting a tall officer at 
the door of the Gondelaurier mansion. 

It was, in fact, Captain Phoebus Chateaupers. He was 
leaning his back against a corner of the house of his betrothed 
and swearing like a Turk. 

" My faith, Captain Phoebus," said Jehan, taking his hand, 
" but you are a wonderfully spirited swearer ! " 

" Thunder and devils ! " answered the captain. 

" Thunder and devils to you ! " retorted the scholar. 
" How now. my gentle captain, whence this overflow of 
elegant language ? " 

" Your pardon, friend Jehan ! " cried Phoebus, shaking his 
hand, " a runaway horse can't be pulled up short. Now I 
was swearing at full gallop. I've just been with those mincing 
prudes, and by the time I come away my throat's so full of 
oaths that I must spit them out, or by thunder I should 
choke ! " 

" Come and have a drink ? " asked the scholar. 

This proposal calmed the young soldier. 

" With all my heart, but I've no monev." 

" But I have." 

" Nonsense ! let's see." 

With an air of good-natured superiority Jehan displayed 
the purse before his friend's eyes. 

Meanwhile the Archdeacon, leaving Charmolue standing 
gaping, had approached the two and stopped a few paces oflf, 
observing them without their noticing him, so absorbed were 
they in examining the contents of the purse. 

" A purse in your pocket, Jehan ! " exclaimed Phoebus, 
" why, 'tis the moon in a pail of water — one sees it, but it is 
not there, it is only the reflection. Par Dieii! I'll wager it's 
full of pebbles ! " 

" These are the pebbles with which I pave my breeches 
pockets," answered Jehan coldly ; and without further wasting 
of words he emptied the purse on a corner-stone near by, with 
the air of a Roman saving his country. 

" As I live ! " muttered Phoebus, " targes ! grands blancs ! 
petits blancs ! deniers parisis ! and real eagle pieces ! 'Tis 
enough to stagger one ! " 

Jehan preserved his dignified and impassive air. A few 


Result of Oaths Uttered in a Square 

Hards had rolled into the mud ; the captain in his enthusiasm 
stooped to pick them up. But Jehan restrained him. 

" Fie, Captain Phoebus de Chateaupers ! " 

Phoebus counted the money, and turning solemnly to 
Jehan : " Do you know, Jehan," said he, " that there are 
twenty-three sous parisis here? Whom did you rob last 
night in the Rue Coupe-Gueule ? " 

Jehan tossed his curly head. " How if one has a brother," 
he said, narrowing his eyes as if in scorn, " an archdeacon 
and a simpleton ? " 

" Come de Dieu! " cried Phoebus, " the worthy man ! " 

" Let's go and drink," said Jehan. 

"Where shall we go?" said Phoebus, "to the Pomme 

" No, captain, let's go to the Vieille-Science." 

" A fig for your Vieille-Science, Jehan ! the wine is better 
at the Pomme d'Eve ; besides, there's a vine at the door that 
cheers me while I drink." 

" Very well, then — here goes for Eve and her apple," said 
the scholar, taking Phoebus by the arm. -" By-the-bye, my 
dear captain, you spoke just now of the Rue Coupe-Gueule.* 
That is very grossly said ; we are not so barbarous now — 
we call it Rue Coupe-Gorge." f 

The two friends turned their steps towards the Pomme 
d'Eve. Needless to say they first gathered up the money, 
and the Archdeacon followed them. 

Followed them with a haggard and gloomy countenance. 
Was this the_Xllfiebus_jdlose accursed name, since his inter- 
view witiT Gringoire, had mingled with"^his""every::thQught? 
He did notloTowVbut at any rate it was a Phoebus, and this 
magic name was a sufficient magnet to draw the Arch'deacon 
after the two thoughtless companions with stealthy step 
listening to all they said, anxiously attentive to their slightest 
gestured For the rest, there was no difficulty in hearing all 
they had to say, so loudly did they talk, so little did they 
hesitate to let the passer-by share their confidences. Their 
talk was of duels, women, wine, folly of all sorts. 

As they turned a corner, the sound of a tambourine came 

* Cut-weasand, f Cut-throat. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

to them from a neighbouring side street. Dom Claude heard 
the officer say to the scholar : 

" Thunder ! let's quicken our pace ! " ,- 

"Why, Phoebus?" 

" I'm afraid the gipsy will see me." 

"What gipsy?" 

" The girl with the goat." 


" That's it, Jehan. I always forget her deuce of a name. 
Let us hurry past or she will recognise me, and I don't want 
the girl to accost me in the street." 

" Do you know her then, Phoebus ? " 

At first, the Archdeacon saw Phoebus lean over with a grin 
and whisper something in Jehan's ear. Phoebus then burst 
out laughing, and threw up his head with a triumphant air. 

" In very truth ? " said Jehan. 

" Upon my soul ! " 

" To-night ? " 

" To-night." 

" Are you sur« she'll come ? " 

" But you must be mad, Jehan. Is there ever any doubt 
about these things?" 

" Captain Phoebus, you are a lucky warrior ! " 

The Archdeacon overheard all this conversation. His 
teeth chattered. A visible shudder ran through his whole 
frame. He stopped a moment to lean against a post like a 
drunken man ; then he followed the track of the two boon 

When he came up with them again they had changed 
the subject. They were singing at the top of their voices 
the refrain of an old song : 

" The lads, the dice who merrily throw, 
Merrily to the gallows go." 


The Spectre-Monk 

, VII 


The far-famed cabaret of the Pomme d'Eve was situated 
in the University, at the corner of the Rue de la Rondelle 
and the Rue du Batonnier. It consisted of one spacious 
room on the ground floor, the central arch of its very low 
ceiling supported by a heavy wooden pillar painted yellow. 
There were tables all round, shining pewter pots hanging on 
the walls, a constant crowd of drinkers, and girls in abun- 
dance. A single window looked on to the street ; there was a 
vine at the door, and over the door a creaking sheet of iron 
having a woman and an apple painted on it, rusted by the 
rain and swinging in the wind — this was the sign-board. 

Night was falling; the street was pitch-dark, and the 
cabaret, blazing with candles, flared from afar like a forge 
in the gloom, while through the broken window-panes came 
a continuous uproar of clinking glasses, feasting, oaths, and 
quarrels. Through the mist which the heat of the room 
diffused over the glass of the door a confused swarm of fig- 
ures could be seen, and now and then came a roar of laughter. 
The people going to and fro upon their business hastened past 
this noisy casement with averted eyes. Only now and then 
some little ragamuffin would stand on tip-toe until he just 
reached the window-ledge, and sRout into the cabaret the 
old jeering cry with which in those days they used to follow 
drunkards: " Aux Houls, saouls, saouls, saouls!" 

One man, however, was pacing imperturbably backward 
and forward in front of the noisy tavern, never taking his eye 
off it, nor going farther away from it than a sentry from his 
box. He was cloaked to the eyes, which cloak he had just 
purchased at a clothier's shop near the Pomme d'Eve, perhaps 
to shield himself from the keen wind of a March night, per- 
haps also to conceal his dress. From time to time he stopped 
before the dim latticed casement, listening, peering in, stamp- 
ing his feet. 

At length the door of the cabaret opened — this was evi- 
dently what he had been waiting for — and a pair of boon com- 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

panions came out. The gleam of light that streamed out of 
the doorway glowed for a moment on their flushed and jovial 
faces. The man in the cloak went and put himself on the 
watch again under a porch on the opposite side of the street. 

" Cornc et tonncrre! " said one of the two carousers. " It's 
on the stroke of seven — the hour of my rendezvous." 

" I tell you," said his companion, speaking thickly, " I 
don't live in the Rue des Mauvaises-Paroles — indignus qui 
inter mala verba habitat. My lodging is in the Rue Jean-Pain- 
Mollet — in vice Johannis-Pain-Mollet, and you're more horny 
than a unicorn if you say the contrary. Everybody knows 
that he who once rides on a bear's back never knows fear again ; 
but you've a nose for smelling out a dainty piece like Saint- 
Jacques de I'Hopital ! " 

" Jehan, my friend, you're drunk," said the other. 

His friend replied with a lurch. " It pleases you to say 
so, Phoebus; but it is proved that Plato had the profile of 
a hound." 

Doubtless the reader has already recognised our two 
worthy friends, the captain and the scholar. It seems that 
the man who was watching them in the dark had recognised 
them too, for he followed slowly all the zigzags which the 
scholar obliged the captain to make, who, being a more 
seasoned toper, had retained his self-possession. Listening 
intently to them, the man in the cloak overheard the whole 
of the following interesting conversation : 

" Corbacque! Try to walk straight, sir bachelor. You 
know that I must leave you anon. It is seven o'clock, and 
I have an appointment with a woman." 

" Leave me then ! I see stars and spears of fire. You're 
like the Chateau of Dampmartin that burst with laughter." 

" By the warts of my grandmother ! Jehan, that's talking 
nonsense with a vengeance ! Look you, Jehan, have you no 
money left? " 

" Monsieur the Rector, it is without a mistake : the little 
slaughter-house — parva boucheria! " 

" Jehan ! friend Jehan ! you know I promised to meet that 
girl at the end of the Saint-Michel bridge ; that I can take 
her nowhere but to La Falourdel's, and that I must pay for 
the room. The old white-whiskered jade won't give me 


The Spectre-Monk 

credit. Jehan, I beseech you! Have we drunk the whole 
contents of the cure's pouch ? " 

" The consciousness of having employed the other hours 
well is a right and savoury condiment to our table." 

" Liver and spleen ! a truce to your gibberish 1 Tell me, 
little limb of the devil, have you any money left? Give it 
me, or, by Heaven, I'll search you though you were as leprous 
as Job and as scabby as Csesar ! " 

" Sir, the Rue Galiache is a street which has the Rue de 
la Verrerie at one end and the Rue de la Tixanderie at the 

" Yes, yes, my good friend Jehan — my poor boy — the Rue 
Galiache — yes, you're right, quite right. But for the love of 
Heaven collect yourself! I want but one sou parisis, and 
seven o'clock is the hour." 

" Silence all round and join in the chorus : 

" ' When the rats have every cat devoured, 
The king shall of Arras be the lord ; 
When the sea, so deep and wide, 
Shall be frozen over at midsummertide, 
, Then out upon the ice you'll see 
How the men of Arras their tow^n shall flee.' " 

" Well, scholar of Antichrist, the foul fiend strangle thee ! " 
cried Phoebus, roughly pushing the tipsy scholar, who reeled 
against the wall and slid gently down upon the pavement of 
Philippe Augustus. Out of that remnant of fraternal sym- 
pathy which never wholly deserts the heart of a bottle com- 
panion, Phoebus with his foot rolled Jehan to one of those 
pillows of the poor which Heaven provides at every street 
corner of Paris, and which the rich scornfully stigmatize with 
the name of rubbish-heap. The captain propped Jehan's head 
upon an inclined plane of cabbage-stumps, and forthwith the 
scholar struck up a magnificent tenor snore. However, the 
captain still entertained some slight grudge against him. " So 
much the worse for thee if the dust-cart come and shovel 
thee up in passing," said he to the poor, slumbering student ; 
and he went on his way. 

The man with the cloak, who still dogged his footsteps, 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

halted a moment as if struggling with some resolve ; then, 
heaving a deep sigh, he went on after the soldier. 

Like them, we will leave Jehan sleeping under the friendly 
eye of heaven, and, with the reader's permission, follow 
their steps. 

On turning into the Rue Saint-Andre-des-Arcs, Captain 
Phoebus perceived that some one was following him. Hap- 
pening to glance behind him, he saw a sort of shade creeping 
after him along the wall. He stopped, it stopped ; he went 
on, the shade also moved forward. However, it caused him 
but little uneasiness. " Ah, bah ! " he said to himself, " I 
haven't a sou on me." 

In front of the College d'Autun he made a halt. It was 
here that he had shuffled through what he was pleased to call 
his studies, and from a naughty school-boy habit which still 
clung to him he never passed the College without offering 
to the statue of Cardinal Pierre Bertram, which stood to the 
right of the entrance, that kind of affront of which Priapus 
complains so bitterly in Horace's satire : " Olim trunciis eram 
Hculnus." He therefore paused as usual at the effigy of the 
cardinal. The street was perfectly empty. As he was pre- 
paring to proceed on his way, he saw the shadow approaching 
him slowly ; so slowly that he had the leisure to observe that it 
wore a cloak and a hat. Arrived at his side, it stopped and 
stood as motionless as the statue of the cardinal ; but it fixed 
on Phoebus a pair of piercing eyes which gleamed with the 
strange light that the pupils of a cat give forth at night. 

The captain was no coward, and would have cared very 
little for a robber rapier in hand ; but this walking statue, 
this petrified man, froze his blood. Queer stories were going 
about at that time of a spectre-monk who nightly roamed the 
streets of Paris, and these stories now returned confusedly 
to his mind. He stood for a moment bewildered and stupe- 
fied, and then broke the silence. 

" Sir," said he, forcing a laugh, " if you are a thief, which 
I trust is the case, you look to me for all the world like a 
heron attacking a nutshell. My good fellow, I am a ruined 
youth of family. But try your luck here — in the chapel of 
this College you will find a piece of the true cross set 
in silver." 


The Spectre-Monk 

The hand of the shade came forth from under its cloak 
and fell upon Phoebus's arm with the grip of an eagle's talons, 
while at the same time it spoke. " Captain Phoebus de 
Chateaupers ! " it said. 

" The devil ! " exclaimed Phoebus ; " you know my name?" 

" I know more than your name," returned the cloaked 
man in sepulchral tones. " I know that you have a rendez- 
vous to-night." 

" Yes, I have," answered Phoebus in amazement. 

" At seven o'clock." 

" In a quarter of an hour." 

" At La Falourdel's." 

" Precisely." 

" The old procuress of the Pont Saint-Michel." 

" Of Saint-Michael the Archangel, as says the pater- 

" Impious one ! " growled the spectre. "With a woman? " 

" Confiteor — I confess it." 

" Whose name is " 

" La Smeralda," said Phoebus lightly ; all his carelessness 
returned to him. 

At this name the spectre's grip tightened, and he shook 
the captain's arm furiously. 

" Captain Phoebus de Chateaupers, thou liest !•" 

Any one beholding at that moment the flame of anger that 
rushed to the soldier's face, his recoil — so violent that it re- 
lieved him from the other's clutch, the haughty air with 
which he laid his hand upon the hilt of his sword, and, in 
face of that passionate resentment, the sullen immobility of 
the man in the cloak — any one beholding this would have 
been startled. It was like the combat between Don Juan 
and the statue. 

" Christ and Satan ! " cried the captain, " that's a word that 
seldom attacks the ear of a Chateaupers ! Thou darest not 
repeat it ! " 

" Thou liest ! " said the shade coldly. 

The captain ground his teeth. Spectre-monk, phantom, 
superstitions — all were forgotten at this moment. He saw 
only a man and an insult. 

" Ha — very good ! " he stammered, his voice choking with 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

rage, and he drew his sword, still stammering — for passion 
makes a man tremble as well as fear. " Draw," he cried, 
" here — on the spot — draw and defend yourself ! There shall 
be blood upon these stones ! " 

The other never stirred. Then, as he saw his adversary on 
guard and ready to run him through — " Captain Phoebus," 
said he, and his voice shook with bitterness, " you are for- 
getting your assignation." 

The angry fits of such men as Phoebus are like boiling 
milk of which a drop of cold water will stay the ebullition. 
These few words brought down the point of the sword which 
glittered in the captain's hand. 

" Captain," continued the man, " to-morrow — the day after 
— a month — ten years hence — you will find me ready to cut 
3^our throat ; but now go to your rendez\'ous." 

" Why, in truth." said Phoebus, as if parleying with him- 
self, " a sword and a girl are two charming things with which 
to have a rendezvous ; but I see no reason why I should miss 
the one for the sake of the other, when I can have them both." 
And with that he put up his sword. 

" Go to your rendezvous," repeated the unknown. 

" Sir," said Phoebus with some embarrassment, " thanks 
for your courtesy. You are right, there will be plenty of 
time to-morrow for us to mutually make slashes and button- 
holes in father Adam's doublet. I am obliged to you for thus 
permitting me to pass another agreeable quarter of an hour. 
I was indeed in hopes of laying you in the gutter, and yet 
arriving in time for the lady, all the more that it is not 
amiss to make women wait for you a little on such occa- 
ions. But you seem to be a fellow of mettle, so it will be 
afer to put it off till to-morrow. So now I will be of? to 
my rendez^^ous ; it is for seven o'clock, you know." Here 
Phoebus scratched his ear. "Ah, corne Dieu! I'd forgot- 
ten — I have not a sou to pay the hire of the garret, and 
the old hag will want to be paid in advance — she will not 
trust me." 

" Here is the wherewithal to pay." 

Phoebus felt the cold hand of the unknown slip a large 
coin into his. He could not refrain from accepting the money 
and grasping the hand. 


The Spectre-Monk 

" God's truth ! " he exclaimed, " but you are a good 
fellow ! " 

" One condition," said the man ; " prove to me that I was 
wrong, and that you spoke the truth. Hide me in some 
comer whence I may see whether this woman be really she 
whom you named." 

" Oh," answered Phoebus, " I have not the slightest objec- 
tion. We shall use the ' Sainte-Marthe room,' and you can 
see into it as much as you like from a little den at one 
side of it." 

" Come, then," said the shade. 

" At your service," said the captain. " For all I know, 
you may be Messer Diabolus in person. But let's be good 
friends to-night; to-morrow I will pay you all my debts — 
both of the purse and the sword." 

They went forward at a rapid pace, and in a few moments 
the sound of the river below told them that they were on the 
Pont Saint-Michel, at that time lined with houses. 

" I will get you in first," said Phoebus to his companion, 
" and then go and fetch the lady, who was to wait for me near 
the Petit-Chatelet." 

His companion made no reply. Since they had been 
walking side by side he had not uttered a word. Phoebus 
stopped in front of a low door and knocked loudly. A light 
shone through the crevices of the door." 

" Who's there ? " cried a quavering old voice. 

" Corps-Dieu! Tcte-Dieu! Ventre-Dieul " answered the 

The door opened on the instant, revealing to the new- 
comers an old woman and an old lamp, both of them tremb- 
ling. The old woman was bent double, clothed in rags, her 
palsied head, out of which peered two little blinking eyes, 
tied up in a kerchief, and wrinkles everywhere — her hands, 
her face, her neck ; her lips were fallen in over her gums, 
and all round her mouth were tufts of white bristles, giving 
her the whiskered look of a cat. 

The interior of the hovel was no less dilapidated than her- 
self — ^the plaster dropping from the walls, smoke-blackened 
beams, a dismantled chimney-piece, cobwebs in every corner; 
in the middle a tottering company of broken-legged tables 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

and stools, in the cinders a dirty child, and at the back a 
stair-case, or rather a wooden ladder, leading to a trap-door 
in the ceiling. 

As he entered this den, Phcebus's mysterious companion 
pulled his cloak up to his eyes. Meanwhile the captain, 
swearing like a Saracen, hastened to produce his crown piece. 

" The * Sainte-Marthe room,' " he said as he presented it. 

The old hag treated him like a lord and shut up the ecu 
in a drawer. It was the coin Phoebus had received from the 
man in the cloak. No sooner was her back turned, than the 
little tousle-headed ragamuffin playing in the cinders stole 
to the drawer, adroitly abstracted the coin, and replaced it 
by a withered leaf which he plucked from a fagot. 

The old woman signed to the two gentlemen, as she 
entitled them, to follow her, and ascended the ladder. Ar- 
rived on the upper floor she set down her lamp upon a chest, 
and Phoebus, as one knowing the ways of the house, opened 
a side door giving access to a small dark space. 

" In here, my dear fellow^" said he to his companion. 
The man in the cloak obeyed without a word. The door 
closed behind him ; he heard Phoebus bolt it, and a moment 
afterw-ard return dow-n the ladder with the old woman. The 
light had disappeared. 



Claude Frollo — for we presume the reader, more intel- 
ligent than Phoebus, has seen throughout this adventure no 
other spectre-monk than the Archdeacon — Claude Frollo 
groped about him for some moments in the darksome hole 
into which the captain had thrust him. It was one of those 
corners which builders sometimes reserve in the angle be- 
tween the roof and the supporting wall. The vertical section 
of this den, as Phoebus had very aptly termed it, would have 
exhibited a triangle. It had no window of any description, 
and the slope of the roof prevented one standing upright in 


The Convenience of River Windows 

it. Claude, therefore, was forced to crouch in the dust and 
the plaster that cracked under him. His head was burning. 
Groping about him on the floor, he found a piece of broken 
glass which he pressed to his forehead, and so found some 
slight relief from its coldness. 

What was passing at that moment in the dark soul of the 
Archdeacon? God and himself alone knew. 

According to what fatal order was he disposing in his 
thoughts La Esmeralda, Phoebus, Jacques Charmolue, his 
fondly loved young brother, abandoned by him in the gutter, 
his cloth, his reputation perhaps, dragged thus into the house 
of the notorious old procuress — all these images — these wild 
doings ? I cannot say ; but it is very certain that they formed 
a horrible group in his mind's eye. 

He had been waiting a quarter of an hour, and he felt 
that he had aged a century in that time. Suddenly he heard 
the wooden ladder creak. Some one was ascending it. The 
trap-door opened again, and once more the light made its 
appearance. In the worm-eaten door of his retreat there was 
a crack ; to this he pressed his face and could thus see all 
that went on in the adjoining space. The old cat-faced hag 
came first through the trap-door, lamp in hand ; then followed 
Phoebus, twirling his mustaches ; and lastly a third person, a 
beautiful and graceful figure — La Esmeralda. To the priest 
she issued from below like a dazzling apparition. Claude 
shook, a mist spread before his eyes, his pulses throbbed 
violently, everything turned round him, there was a roaring 
in his ears ; he saw and heard no more. 

When he came to himself again, Phoebus and Esmeralda 
were alone, seated upon the wooden chest beside the lamp, 
the light of which revealed to the Archdeacon the two youthful 
figures and a miserable pallet at the back of the attic. 

Close to the couch was a window, the casement of which, 
cracked and bulging like a spider's web in the rain, showed 
through its broken strands a small patch of sky, and far 
down it the moon reclining on a pillow of soft clouds. 

The girl was blushing, panting, confused. Her long, 
drooping lashes shaded her glowing cheeks. The ofificer, to 
whom she dared not lift her eyes, was radiant. Mechanically, 
and with a ravishing coy air, she was tracing incoherent 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

lines on the bench with the tip of her finger, her eyes fol- 
lowing the movement. Her foot was hidden, for the little 
goat was hing on it. 

The captain was arrayed for conquest, with ruffles of gold 
lace at his throat and wrists — the extreme of elegance in 
those days. 

It was not without difficulty that Dom Claude could hear 
their conversation, so loudly did the blood beat in his ears. 

A dull affair enough, the conversation of a pair of lovers 
— one never-ending " I love you " ; a musical phrase, but 
terribly monotonous and insipid to the indififerent listener. 
But Claude was no indifferent listener. 

" Oh," said the girl, without lifting her eyes, " do not 
despise me, Monseigneur Phoebus. I feel that I am doing 
very wrong ! " 

" Despise you, pretty one ! " returned the officer with an 
air of superior and princely gallantry, " despise you, Tete- 
Dieii, and what for ? " 

" For having followed you." 

" On that score, my charmer, we do not at all agree. I 
ought not to despise, but to hate you." 

The girl looked up at him frightened. " Hate me ! What 
have I done ? " 

" Why, you have taken so much soliciting." 

" Alas ! " said she, " it is that I am breaking a vow — I 
shall never find my parents — the amulet will lose its virtue 
— but what of that? — what need have I of a father or mother 
now ? " And she fixed on the soldier her large dark eyes, 
dewy wath tenderness and delight. 

" The devil fly away with me if I know what you mean ! " 
cried Phoebus. 

Esmeralda was silent for a moment, then a tear rose to 
her eyes, and a sigh to her lips, as she murmured, " Oh, sir, 
I love you ! " 

There was around the girl such a halo of chastity, such 
a perfume of virtue, that Phoebus was not quite at his ease 
with her. These words, however, emboldened him. " You 
love me ! " he exclaimed with transport, and threw his arm 
round the gipsy's waist. He had only been on the lookout 
for an opportunity. 


The Convenience of River Windows 

The priest beheld this, and tried with his finger-tip the 
edge of the dagger which he kept concealed in his bosom. 

" Phoebus," the gipsy went on, at the same time gently 
disengaging her waist from the officer's clinging hands, " you 
are good, you are generous, you are handsome. You saved 
me — me, who am but a poor wandering gipsy girl. I had 
long dreamed of an officer who should save my life. It was 
of you I dreamed before I met you, my Phoebus. The officer 
of my 'dream wore a fine uniform like yours, a grand look, 
a sword. You are called Phoebus ; it is a beautiful name. 
I love your name ; I love your sword. Draw your sword, 
Phoebus, and let me look at it." 

" Child ! " said the captain, unsheathing his sword with 
an indulgent smile. 

The Egyptian looked at the hilt, at the blade, examined 
with adorable curiosity the monogram on the guard, and then 
kissed the sword. " You are the sword of a brave man," 
she said. " I love my officer." 

Here Phoebus availed himself of the opportunity, as she 
bent over the sword, to press a kiss upon her fair neck, 
which made the girl flush crimson and draw herself up, while 
the priest ground his teeth in the darkness. 

** Phoebus," the gipsy resumed, " let me talk to you. But 
first, pray you, walk about a little that I may see you at 
your full height, and hear the ring of your spurs. How 
handsome you are ! " 

The captain rose to please her, chiding her the while with 
a smile of satisfied vanity. " What a child it is ! Apropos, 
sweetheart, have you ever seen me in gala uniform ? " 

" Alas ! no," said she. 

" Ah, that's worth looking at ! " He reseated himself 
beside the gipsy, but much closer this time than before. 
" Listen, my sweet " 

The gipsy girl gave two or three little taps of her pretty 
hand on his mouth with a playfulness that was full of child- 
like grace and gaiety. " No, no, I will not listen to any- 
thing. Do you love me? I want you to tell me if you love 

" Do I love thee, angel of my life ! " exclaimed the cap- 
tain, sinking on one knee before her. " I am thine — body, 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

blood, and soul : all, all would I give for thee. I love thee, 
and have never loved but thee." 

The captain had so often repeated this sentence, on so 
many similar occasions, that he delivered it at one breath, 
and without a single blunder. At this passionate declaration 
the Egyptian raised to the dingy ceiling — which here took 
the place of heaven — a look full of inefifable happiness. " Oh," 
she murmured, " this is the moment at which one should 
die ! " 

Phoebus found " the moment " more suitable for snatching 
another kiss, which went to torture the miserable Archdeacon 
in his hiding-place. 

" Die ! " cried the amorous captain. " What are you say- 
ing, my angel? This is the time to live, or Jupiter is but 
a scoundrel ! To die at the beginning of so delicious an 
occasion ! Come de boeiif — that were a poor joke indeed ! 
No, indeed. Listen, my dear Similar, Esmenarda — Pardon 
me! but you've got a name so prodigiously Saracen that I 
can't get it out properly — 'tis a thicket that always brings me 
up short." 

" Alas ! " said the poor girl, " and I used to like the name 
for its singularity. But since it displeases you, I would I 
were called Goton." 

" Oh, 'tis not worth crying about, sweetheart ! It's a 
name one must get accustomed to, that's all. Once I know 
it by heart, 'twill come readily enough. Listen, then, my 
Similar, I love you to distraction — it's positively miraculous 
how much I love you. I know a little girl who is bursting 
with rage over it." 

" Who is that ? " the gipsy broke in jealously, 

" What does it matter to us ? " answered Phoebus. " Do 
you love me ? " 

" Oh ! " said she. 

" Well, that's enough. You shall see how much I love 
you too. May the great demon Neptune stick me on his 
fork, if I don't make you the happiest creature living. We'll 
have a pretty little lodging somewhere. My archers shall 
parade before your windows. They are all mounted, and 
cut out those of Captain Mignon completely. There are bill- 
men, cross-bowmen, and culverin-men. I will take you to 


The Convenience of River Windows 

the great musters of the Paris men-at-arms at the Grange de 
RuUy. That's a very magnificent sight. Eighty thousand 
men under arms — thirty thousand in shining armour; the 
sixty-seven banners of the trade guilds ; the standards of the 
ParUament, of the Chamber of Accounts, the Pubhc Treas- 
ury, of the Workers in the Mint — in short, a deviUsh fine 
show ! Then Til take you to see the lions at the King's 
palace — beasts of prey, you know — women always like 

For some minutes the girl, absorbed in her own happy 
thoughts, had been dreaming to the sound of his voice with- 
out attending to his words. 

" Oh, how happy you will be," continued the soldier, and 
at the same time gently unfastening the gipsy's belt. 

" What are you doing ? " she said brusquely — this forceful 
proceeding had roused her from her dreams. 

" Nothing," answered Phoebus. " I was only saying that 
you would have to put away all this mountebank, street- 
dancer costume when you are going to be with me." 

" To be with you, my Phoebus," said the girl fondly, and 
she fell silent and dreamy again. 

Emboldened by her gentleness the captain clasped his arm 
about her waist without her offering any resistance ; he then 
began softly to unlace the pretty creature's bodice, and so 
disarranged her neckerchief, that from out of it the panting 
priest beheld the gipsy's beautiful bare shoulder rise, round 
and dusky as the moon through a misty horizon. 

The girl let Phoebus work his will. She seemed uncon- 
scious of what he was doing. The captain's eyes gleamed. 
Suddenly she turned to him. " Phoebus," she said with a 
look of boundless love, " teach me your religion." 

" My religion ! " exclaimed the captain with a guffaw. 
" Teach you my religion ! Thunder and lightning ! what do 
you want with my religion ? " 

" That we may be married," answered she. 

A mingled look of surprise, disdain, unconcern, and licen- 
tious passion swept over the captain's face. " Ah, bah ! " said 
he, " who talks of marriage ? " 

The gipsy turned pale, and let her head droop sadly on 
her breast. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

" Sweetheart," went on Phoebus fondly, " what matters 
such foolery as marriage? Shall we be any less loving for 
not having gabbled some Latin in a priest's shop ? " 

And as he said this in his most insinuating tones, he drew 
still closer to the gipsy ; his caressing arms had resumed their 
clasp about that slender, pliarrt waist; his eye kindled more 
and more, and everything proclaimed that Captain Phoebus 
was obviously approaching one of those moments at which 
Jupiter himself behaves so foolishly that worthy old Homer 
is obliged to draw a cloud over the scene. 

Dom Claude, however, saw everything. The door was 
merely of worm-eaten old puncheon ribs, and left between 
them ample passage for his vulture gaze. This dark-skinned, 
broad-shouldered priest, condemned hitherto to the austere 
chastity of the cloister, shivered and burned alternately at 
this night-scene of love and passion. The sight of this lovely, 
dishevelled girl in the arms of a young and ardent lover turned 
the blood in his veins to molten lead. He felt an extraordi- 
nary commotion within him ; his eye penetrated with lascivi- 
ous jealousy under all these unfastened clasps and laces. Any 
one seeing the wretched man's countenance pressed close 
against the worm-eaten bars would have taken it for the face 
of a tiger looking through his cage at some jackal devouring 
a gazelle. 

By a sudden, rapid movement Phoebus snatched the 
gipsy's kerchief completely off her neck. The poor girl, who 
had sat pale and dreamy, started from her reverie. She 
brusquely tore herself away from the too enterprising young 
officer, and catching sight of her bare neck and shoulders, 
blushing, confused, and mute with shame, she crossed her 
beautiful arms over her bosom to hide it. But for the flame 
that burned in her cheeks, to see her thus standing, silent and 
motionless, with drooping eyes, you would have taken her 
for a statue of Modesty. 

But this action of the captain's had laid bare the mysterious 
amjLilet which she wore round her neck. 

, "What is that?" he asked, seizing this pretext for once 
/more approaching the beautiful creature he had frightened 

" Do not touch it," she answered quickly, " it is my pro- 


The Convenience of River Windows 

tection^_ Through it I shall find my parents again if I remain 
worthy of that. Oh, leave me, Monsieur le Capitaine ! 
Mother! my poor mother! where art thou? Come to my 
aid ! Have pity, Monsieur Phoebus — give me back my ker- 
chief to cover my bosom." 

But Phoebus drew back coldly. " Ah, mademoiselle," he 
said, " I see very plainly that you do not love me ! " 

" Not love him I " cried the poor unhappy child, clinging 
wildly to him and drawing him down to the seat beside her. 
" I do not love thee, my Phoebus ? What words are these, 
cruel, to rend my heart ! Oh, come — take me ! take all ! do 
with me what thou wilt ! I am thine. What matters the 
amulet ! What is my mother to me now ! Thou art father 
and mother to me now, since I love thee ! Phoebus, beloved, 
look at me — see, 'tis I — 'tis that poor little one whom thou 
wilt not spurn from thee, and who comes, who comes herself 
to seek thee. My soul, my life, myself — all, all belong to 
thee, my captain. Well, so be it — we will not marry, since 
it is not thy wish. Besides, what am I but a miserable 
child of the gutter, while thou, my Phoebus, art a gentleman. 
A fine thing, truly ! A dancing girl to espouse an officer ! 
I was mad ! No, Phoebus, I will be thy paramour, thy toy, 
thy pleasure — what thou wilt — only something that belongs 
to thee — for what else was I made? Soiled, despised, dis- 
honoured, what care I ? if only I be loved I shall be the 
proudest and happiest of women. And when I shall be old 
and ugly, when I am no longer worthy of your love, mon- 
seigneur, you will sufifer me to serve you. Others will em- 
broider scarfs for you — I, the handmaid, will have care of 
them. You will let me polish your spurs, brush your doublet, 
and rub the dust from oflf your riding-boots — will you not, 
Phoebus? You will grant me so much? And meanwhile, 
take me — I am thine — only love ine ! We gipsies, that is all 
we ask — love and the free air of heaven ! " 

Speaking thus, she threw her arms round the soldier's neck 
and raised her eyes to his in fond entreaty, smiling through 
her tears. Her tender bosom was chafed by the woollen 
doublet and its rough embroidery as the fair, half-nude form 
clung to his breast. The captain, quite intoxicated, pressed 
his lips to those exquisite shoulders, and the girl, lying back 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

in his arms, with half-closed eyes, glowed and trembled under 
his kisses. 

Suddenly above the head of Phoebus she beheld another 
head — a livid, convulsed face with the look as of one of the 
damned, and beside that face a raised hand holding a dagger. 
It was the face and the hand of the priest. He had broken 
in the door and stood behind the pair. Phoebus could not 
see him. The girl lay motionless, petrified and speechless 
with terror at the appalling apparition, like a dove that raises 
her head and catches the terrible keen eye of the hawk fixed 
upon her nest. 

She was unable even to cry out. She saw the dagger 
descend upon Phoebus and rise again, reeking. 

" Malediction ! " groaned the captain, and fell. 

The girl swooned, but at the moment ere her eyes closed 
and she lost all consciousness, she seemed to feel a fiery pres- 
sure on her lips, a kiss more searing than the brand of the 

When she came to her senses she found herself surrounded 
by the soldiers of the watch ; the captain was being borne 
away bathed in his blood, the priest had vanished, the window 
at the back of the room overlooking the river was wide open ; 
they picked up a cloak which they supposed to belong to 
the officer, and she heard them saying to one another: 

" It is a witch w^ho has stabbed a captain." 




Gringoire and the whole Court of Miracles were in a 
state of mortal anxiety. For a whole long month nobody knew 
what had become of Esmeralda, which greatly distressed the 
Duke of Egypt and his friends the Vagabonds — nor what had 
become of her goat, which doubled the distress of Gringoire, 
One evening the Egyptian had disappeared, and from that 
moment had given no sign of life. All searching and inquiries 
had been fruitless. Some malicious beggars declared that 
they had met her on the evening in question in the neigh- 
bourhood of the Pont Saint-Michel in company with an offi- 
cer, but this husband a la mode de Boheme was a most 
incredulous philosopher, and, besides, he knew better than any 
one to what extent his wife was still a maid. He had had an 
opportunity of judging how impregnable was the chastity re- 
sulting from the combined virtues of the amulet and the 
gipsy's own feelings, and he had mathematically calculated 
the power of resistance of the last-mentioned factor. On that 
score, therefore, he was quite easy. 

Consequently he was quite unable to account for this dis- 
appearance, which was a source of profound regret to him. 
He would have lost flesh over it had such a thing been possi- 
ble. As it was, he had forgotten everything over this subject, 
even to his literary tastes, even to his great opus : Dc Hgiiris 
regularibus et irregtdaribtis, which he counted on getting 
printed as soon as he had any money. For he raved about 
printing ever since he had seen the Didascolon of Hugues de 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

Saint-Victor printed with the famous types of Wendelin of 

One day, as he was passing dejectedly before the Tour- 
nelle Criminelle, he observed a small crowd at one of the 
doors of the Palais de Justice. 

" What is going on ? " he asked of a young man who was 
coming out. 

"I do not know, sir," replied the young man. " They 
say a woman is being tried for the murder of a soldier. As 
there would seem to be some witchcraft in the business, the 
Bishop and the Holy Office have interfered in the case, and 
my brother, who is Archdeacon of Josas, spends his whole 
time there. As it happened, I wished to speak with him, 
but I could not get near him for the crowd — which annoys 
me very much, for I want money." 

" Alack, sir," said Gringoire, " I would I had any to lend 
you, but though my breeches pockets are in holes, it is not 
from the weight of coin in them." 

He did not venture to tell the youth that he knew his 
brother the Archdeacon, whom he had never visited since the 
scene in the church — a neglect which smote his conscience. 

The scholar went his way, and Gringoire proceeded to 
follow the crowd ascending the stairs to the court-room. 
To his mind, there was nothing equal to the spectacle of a 
trial for dissipating melancholy, the judges exhibiting, as a 
rule, such extremely diverting stupidity. The crowd with 
whom he mingled walked and elbowed one another in silence. 
After a protracted and uneventful pilgrimage through a long 
dark passage which wound through the Palais like the intes- 
tinal canal of the old edifice, he arrived at a low door opening 
into a court-room which his superior height enabled him to 
explore over the swaying heads of the multitude. 

The hall was vast and shadowy, which made it appear still 
larger. The day was declining, the long pointed windows 
admitted only a few pale rays of light, which died out before 
they reached the vaulted ceiling, an enormous trellis-work 
of carved wood, the thousand figures of which seemed to stir 
confusedly in the gloom. Several candles were already lighted 
on the tables, and gleamed on the heads of the law clerks 
buried in bundles of documents. The lower end of the hall 


The Crown Piece Changed 

was occupied by the crowd ; to right and left sat gowned 
lawyers at tables ; at the other extremity upon a raised plat- 
form were a number of judges, the back rows plunged in 
darkness — motionless and sinister figures. The walls were 
closely powdered with fleurs-de-lis, a great figure of Christ 
might be vaguely distinguished above the heads of the judges, 
and everywhere pikes and halberds, their points tipped with 
fire by the glimmering rays of the candles. 

" Sir," said Gringoire to one of his neighbours, " who are 
all those persons yonder, ranged like prelates in council ? " 

" Sir," answered the man, " those on the right are the 
Councillors of the High Court, and those on the left the 
Examining Councillors — the maitres in black gowns, the 
messires in red ones." 

" And above them, there," continued Gringoire, " who is 
the big, red-faced one sweating so profusely ? " 

" That is Monsieur the President." 

" And those sheepsheads behind him ? " Gringoire went on 
— we know that he had no great love for the magistrature, 
owing, may-be, to the grudge he bore against the Palais de 
Justice ever since his dramatic misadventure. 

" Those are the lawyers of the Court of Appeal of the 
Royal Palace." 

" " And that wild boar in front of them ? " 

" Is the Clerk of the Court of Parliaments." 

"And that crocodile to the right of him?" 

" Maitre Philippe Lheulier, King's advocate extraordi- 

" And to the left, that big black cat ? " 

" Maitre Jacques Charmolue, procurator in the Ecclesi- 
astical Court, with the members of the Holy Office." 

" And may I ask, sir," said Gringoire, " what all these 
worthies are about ? " 

" They are trying some one." 

"Trying whom? I see no prisoner." 

" It is a woman, sir. You cannot see her. She has her 
back turned to us, and is hidden by the crowd. Look, she 
is over there where you see that group of partisans." 

"Who is the woman?" asked Gringoire; "do you know 
her name ? " 

O 303 Vol. 4 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

" No, sir, I have but just arrived. I conclude, however, 
from the presence of the Office that there is some question 
of witchcraft in the matter." 

" Ah, ha ! " said our philosopher, " so we shall have the 
pleasure of seeing these black gowns devouring human flesh ! 
Well, it is a spectacle as good as any other." 

" Do you not think, sir, that Maitre Jacques Charmolue 
has a very kindly air ? " observed his neighbour. 

" Hum ! " responded Gringoire. " I am somewhat dis- 
trustful of kindness that has such thin nostrils and sharp lips." 

Here the bystanders imposed silence on the two talkers. 
An important deposition was being heard. 

" My lords," an old woman was saying, whose face and 
shape generally was so muffled in her garments that she 
looked like an animated heap of rags ; " my lords, the thing 
is as true as that I am La Falourdel, for forty years a house- 
holder on the Pont Saint-Michel, and paying regularly all 
rents and dues and ground taxes — the door opposite to the 
house of Tassin-Caillart, the dyer, which is on the side looking 
up the river. A poor old woman now, a pretty girl once-a- 
days, my lords ! Only a few days before, they said to me : 
' La Falourdel, do not spin too much of an evening, the devil 
is fond of combing old women's distaffs with his horns. 'Tis 
certain that the spectre-monk who haunted the Temple last 
year is going about the city just now ; take care, La Falourdel, 
that he does not knock at your door.' I ask who's there. 
Some one swears. I open the door. Two men come in — 
a man in black with a handsome officer. You could see noth- 
ing of the black man but his eyes — two live coals — all the 
rest hat and cloak. So they say to me : ' The Sainte-Marthe 
room ' — that is my upper room, my lords, my best one, and 
they give me a crown. I shut the crown in a drawer, and 
says I : ' That will do to buy tripe to-morrow at the slaughter- 
house of La Gloriette.' We go upstairs. Arrived at the upper 
room, as I turn my back a moment, the man in black dis- 
appears. This astonishes me somewhat. The officer, who 
was handsome and grand as a lord, comes down again with 
me. He leaves the house, but in about the time to spin a 
quarter of a skein he returns with a beautiful young girl — a 
poppet who would have shone like a star had her locks 


The Crown Piece Changed 

been properly braided. Following her came a goat — a great 
goat — whether black or white I can't remember. This set 
me to thinking. The girl — that does not concern me — but 
the goat ! I don't like those animals with their beards and 
horns — it's too like a man. Besides, that smells of witch- 
craft. However, I say nothing. I had the crown piece. That 
is only fair, is it not, my lord judge ? So I show the captain and 
the girl into the upper room and leave them alone — that is 
to say, with the goat. I go down and get to my spin- 
ning again. I must tell you that my house has a ground 
floor and an upper storey; the back looks out on to the 
river, as do all the houses on the bridge, and the ground- 
floor window and the window of the upper floor open on to 
the water. Well, as I was saying, I sat down again to my 
spinning. I don't know why, but I began thinking about 
the spectre-monk whom the goat had brought to my mind, 
and that the pretty girl was dressed very outlandish, when 
all at once I hear a cry overhead and something fall on the 
floor, and then the window opening. I run to mine, which is 
just underneath, and see a black mass drop into the water — 
a phantom dressed like a priest. It was moonlight, so I saw 
it quite plainly. It swam away towards the city. Then, all 
of a tremble, I called the watch. The gentlemen of the guard 
came in, and at first, not knowing what was the matter, they 
made merry over it and began to beat me. I explained to 
them. We go upstairs, and what do we find? My unfor- 
tunate room swimming in blood, the captain stretched his 
whole length on the floor with a dagger in his neck, the girl 
making as if she were dead, and the goat in a fury. ' A pretty 
business,' say I. ' 'Twill be a fortnight's work to clean up 
these boards. It must be scraped — a terrible job ! ' They 
carried away the officer, poor young man, and the girl — half- 
naked. But stay — the worst is to come. The next morning, 
when I went to take the crown to buy my tripe, I found a 
withered leaf in its place ! " 

The old beldame ceased. A murmur of horror went round 
the place. " That phantom, that goat — all this savours of 
magic," said one of Gringoire's neighbours. " And that with- 
ered leaf," added another. " There can be no doubt," went 
on a third, " that it's some witch who has commerce with the 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

spectre-monk to plunder officers." Gringoire himself was 
not far from thinking this connection both probable and 

" Woman Falourdel," said the President with majesty, 
*' have you nothing further to declare to the court ? " 

" No, my lord," answered the woman, " unless that in the 
report my house has been named a tumble-down and stinking 
hovel, which is insulting language. The houses on the bridge 
are not very handsome, because they swarm with people ; but, 
nevertheless, the butchers live there, and they are wealthy 
men with handsome and careful wives." 

The magistrate who reminded Gringoire of a crocodile 
now rose. " Peace ! " said he. " I would beg you gentlemen 
not to lose si£:ht of the fact that a dagger was found on the 
accused. Woman Falourdel, have you brought with you the 
withered leaf into which the crown was transformed that the 
demon gave you ? " 

" Yes, my lord. I found it again. Here it is." 

An usher handed the dead leaf to the crocodile, who, with 
a doleful shake of the head, passed it to the President, who 
sent it on to the procurator of the Ecclesiastical Court, so 
that it finally made the round of the hall. 

" 'Tis a beech leaf," said Maitre Jacques Charmolue, " an 
additional proof of magic ! " 

A councillor then took up the word. '' Witness, you say 
two men went up together in your house : the man in black 
whom you first saw disappear and then swimming in the Seine 
in priest's habit, and the ofificer. Which of the two gave you 
the crown ? " 

The hag reflected for a moment, then answered, " It was 
the officer." 

A murmur ran through the crowd. 

" Ah," thought Gringoire, " that somewhat shakes my 

But Maitre Philippe LheuHer again interposed. " I would 
remind you, gentlemen, that in the deposition taken down at 
his bedside the murdered officer, while stating that a vague 
suspicion had crossed his mind at the instant when the black 
man accosted him, that it might be the spectre-monk, added, 
that the phantom had eagerly urged him to go and meet the 


The Crown Piece Changed 

accused, and on his (the captain's) observing that he was 
without money, had given him the crown which the said officer 
paid to La Falourdel. Thus the crown is a coin of hell." 

This conclusive observation appeared to dissipate all 
doubts entertained by Gringoire or any other sceptics among 
the listeners. 

" Gentlemen, you have the documents in hand," added the 
advocate as he seated himself, " you can consult the deposition 
of Phoebus de Chateaupers." 

At this name the accused started up. Her head was now 
above the crowd. Gringoire, aghast, recognised Esmeralda, 

She was deadly pale ; her hair, once so charmingly braided 
and spangled with sequins, fell about her in disorder; her 
lips were blue, her sunken eyes horrifying. Alas ! 

" Phoebus ! " she cried distraught, " where is he ? Oh, my 
lords, before you kill me, in mercy tell me if he yet lives ! " 

" Silence, woman ! " answered the President ; " that is not 
our concern." 

" Oh, in pity, tell me if he lives ! " she cried again, clasping 
her beautiful wasted hands ; and her chains clanked as she 

" Well, then," said the King's advocate dryly, " he is at 
the point of death. Does that satisfy you ? " 

The wretched girl fell back in her seat, speechless, tear- 
less, white as a waxen image. 

The President leaned down to a man at his feet who wore 
a gilded cap and a black gown, a chain round his neck, and a 
wand in his hand. 

" Usher, bring in the second accused." 

All eyes were turned towards a little door which opened, 
and to Gringoire's great trepidation gave entrance to a pretty 
little goat with gilded horns and hoofs. The graceful crea- 
ture stood a moment on the threshold stretching her neck 
exactly as if, poised on the summit of a rock, she had a vast 
expanse before her eyes. Suddenly she caught sight of the 
gipsy girl, and leaping over the table and the head of the clerk 
in two bounds, she was at her mistress's knee. She then 
crouched at Esmeralda's feet, begging for a word or a caress; 
but the prisoner remained motionless, even little Djali could 
not win a glance from her. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

" Why — 'tis my ugly brute," said old Falourdel, " and now 
I recognise them both perfectly ! " 

" An it please you, gentlemen, we will proceed to the 
interrogation of the goat." 

This, in effect, was the second criminal. Nothing was 
more common in those days than a charge of witchcraft 
against an animal. For instance, in the Provostry account 
for 1466 there is a curious specification of the expenses of 
the action against Gillet Soulart and his sow, " executed for 
their demerits " at Corbeil. Everything is detailed — the cost 
of the pit to put the sow into ; the five hundred bundles of 
wood from the wharf of Morsant ; the three pints of wine and 
the bread, the victims' last meal, fraternally shared by the 
executioner ; and even the eleven days' custody and keep of 
the sow at eight deniers parisis per day. At times they went 
beyond animals. The capitularies of Charlemagne and Louis 
le Debonnaire impose severe penalties on fiery phantoms who 
had the assurance to appear in the air. 

Meanwhile the procurator of the Ecclesiastical Court ex- 
claimed, " If the demon that possesses this goat, and which 
has resisted every exorcism, persist in his sorceries, if he 
terrify the court thereby, we forewarn him that we shall be 
constrained to proceed against him with the gibbet or 
the stake." 

Gringoire broke out in a cold sweat. 

Charmolue then took from the table the gipsy's tam- 
bourine, and presenting it in a certain manner to the goat, 
he asked: " What is the time of day? " 

The goat regarded him with a sagacious eye, lifted her 
gilded hoof, and struck seven strokes. It was in truth seven 
o'clock. A thrill of horror ran through the crowd. 

Gringoire could contain himself no longer. " She will be 
her own ruin ! " he exclaimed aloud. " You can see for your- 
self she has no knowledge of what she is doing." 

" Silence down there ! " cried the usher sharply. 

Jacques Charmolue, by means of the same manoeuvrings 
with the tambourine, made the goat perform several other 
tricks in connection with the date of the day, the month of the 
year, etc., which the reader has already witnessed. And by an 
optical illusion peculiar to judicial proceedings, these same 


The Crown Piece Changed 

spectators, who doubtless had often applauded Djali's inno- 
cent performances in the public streets, were terrified by them 
under the roof of the Palais de Justice. The goat was indis- 
putably the devil. 

It was much worse, however, when the procurator, having 
emptied on the floor a certain little leather bag full of movable 
letters hanging from Djali's neck, the goat was seen to sep- 
arate from the scattered alphabet the letters of the fatal name 
" Phoebus." The magic of which the captain had been a 
victim seemed incontrovertibly proven ; and, in the eyes of 
all, the gipsy girl, the charming dancer who had so often 
dazzled the passer-by with her exquisite grace, was nothing 
more nor less than a horrible witch. 

As for her, she gave no sign of life. Neither Djali's pretty 
tricks nor the menaces of the lawyers, nor the stifled impre- 
cations of the spectators — nothing reached her apprehension 
any more. 

At last, in order to rouse her, a sergeant had to shake 
her pitilessly by the arm, and the President solemnly raised 
his voice : 

" Girl, you are of the race of Bohemians, and given to 
sorcery. In company with your accomplice, the bewitched 
goat, also implicated in this charge, you did, on the night 
of the twenty-ninth of March last, in concert with the powers 
of darkness, and by the aid of charms and spells, wound and 
poniard a captain of the King's archers, Phoebus de Cha- 
teaupers by name. Do you persist in your denial ? " 

" Horrors ! " cried the girl, covering her face with her 
hands. " My Phoebus ! Oh, this is hell ! " 

" Do you persist in your denial ? " repeated the President 

" Of course I deny it ! " she answered in terrible tones ; 
and she rose to her feet and her eyes flashed. 

" Then how do you explain the facts laid to your charge ? " 
continued the President sternly. 

" I have already said," she answered brokenly, " I do not 
know. It is a priest, a priest who is unknown to me ; a 
devilish priest who persecutes me " 

" There you have it," interrupted the judge ; " the spectre- 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

" Oh, my lords, have pity ! I am but a poor girl " 

" Of Egypt," said the judge. 

Maitre Jacques Charmolue here interposed in his mildest 
tones : " In view of the painful obstinacy of the accused, I 
demand that she be put to the question." 

" Accorded," said the President. 

A shudder ran through the frame of the hapless girl. She 
rose, however, at the order of the partisan-bearers, and walked 
with a tolerably firm step, preceded by Charmolue and the 
priests of the Office and between two lines of halberds, 
towards a masked door, which suddenly opened and shut 
again upon her, seeming to the dejected Gringoire like a 
horrible maw^ swallowing her up. 

After she had disappeared a plaintive bleat was heard. It 
was the little goat. 

The sitting was suspended. A councillor having observed 
that the gentlemen were fatigued, and that it would be a long 
time to wait till the torture was over, the President replied 
that a magistrate should be able to sacrifice himself to 
his duty. 

" The troublesome and vexatious jade," said an old judge, 
" to force us to apply the question when we have not yet 
supped ! " 




After ascending and descending several flights of steps 
leading to passages so dark that they were lighted by lamps 
at mid-day, Esmeralda, still surrounded by her lugubrious 
attendants, was thrust by the sergeants of the guard into a 
chamber of sinister aspect. This chamber, circular in form, 
occupied the ground floor in one of those great towers which, 
even in our day, pierces the layer of modern edifices with 
which the present Paris has covered the old. There were 
no windows to this vault ; no other opening than the low- 


Sequel to the Crown Piece 

browed entrance, closed by an enormous iron door. Yet it did 
not want for light. A furnace was built into the thickness 
of the wall, and in it a great fire, which filled the vault w'ith 
its crimson glow and entirely outshone a miserable candle 
flickering in a corner. The iron grating which closed the 
furnace being raised at that moment only showed, against 
the flaming orifice whose licking flames danced on the grim 
walls, the lower extremity of its bars like a row of sharp black 
teeth, giving the fire the appearance of a fire-breathing dragon 
of the ancient myths. By the light that streamed from it the 
prisoner beheld, ranged round the chamber, frightful instru- 
ments the use of which she did not understand. In the 
middle a leather mattress was stretched almost touching the 
ground, and over that hung a leather strap with a buckk; 
attached to a copper ring held in the mouth of a flat-nosed 
monster carved in the keystone of the vaulted roof. Iron 
pincers, tongs, great ploughshares were heaped inside the 
furnace and glowed red-hot upon the fire. The blood-red 
gleam of the fire only served to bring into view a confused 
mass of horrible objects. 

This Tartarus was known simply as the " Question Cham- 

Upon the bed sat with the utmost unconcern Pierrat 
Torterue, the official torturer. His assistants, two square- 
faced gnomes in leathern aprons and linen breeches, were 
turning the irons in the fire. 

The poor girl might call up all her courage as she would ; 
on entering that chamber she was seized with horror. 

The myrmidons of the law ranged themselves on one side, 
the priests of the Office on the other. A clerk, a table and 
writing materials were in a corner. 

Maitre Jacques Charmolue approached the Egyptian with 
his blandest smile. 

" My dear child," said he, " do you persist in your denial ? " 

" Yes," she answered in an expiring voice. 

" In that case," Charmolue went on, " it will be our painful 
duty to question you more urgently than we would otherwise 
desire. Have the goodness to seat yourself on this bed. — 
Maitre Pierrat, kindly make room for mademoiselle, and close 
the door." 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

Pierrat rose with a growl. " If I shut the door," he mut- 
tered, " my fire will go out."' 

'' Well, then, my good fellow," replied Charmolue, " leave 
it open." 

Meanwhile, Esmeralda had remained standing. This bed 
of leather, on which so many poor wretches had writhed ^n 
agony, filled her with affright. Terror froze her to the mar- 
row : she stood bewildered, stupefied. At a sign from Char- 
molue, the two assistants laid hold on her and placed her 
on the bed. They did not hurt her ; but at the mere touch 
of these men, at the touch of the bed, she felt all her blood 
rush to her heart. She cast a distraught look round the cham- 
ber. She imagined she saw all these monstrous instruments 
of torture — which were, to the instruments of any kind she 
had hitherto seen, what bats, centipeds, and spiders are 
among birds and insects — come moving towards her from all 
sides to crawl over her body and pinch and bite her. 

" Where is the physician ? " asked Charmolue. 

" Here," answered a black gown she had not observed 

She shuddered. 

" Mademoiselle," resumed the fawning voice of the attor- 
ney of the Ecclesiastical Court, " for the third time, do you 
persist in denying the facts of which you are accused ? " 

This time she only bent her head in assent — she was past 

"You persist?" said Jacques Charmolue. "Then, to my 
infinite regret, I must fulfil the duty of my ofifice." . 

" Monsieur the King's Attorney," said Pierrat, " with 
which shall we begin ? " 

Charmolue hesitated a moment with the ambiguous gri- 
mace of a poet seeking a rhyme. " With the boot," he said 
at last. 

The unhappy creature felt herself so completely forsaken 
of God and man, that her head dropped upon her breast like 
a thing inert and without any power in itself. The torturer 
and the physician approached her together, while the two 
assistants began to search in their hideous collection. 

At the clank of these terrible irons the wretched child 
started convulsively, like a poor dead frog galvanized to life. 


Sequel to the Crown Piece 

"Oh!" she murmured, so low that no one heard her; "oh, 
my Phoebus ! " Then she sank again into her previous immo- 
bihty and her stony silence. The spectacle would have wrung 
any but the hearts of judges. It might have been some sin- 
stained soul being questioned by Satan at the flaming gate of 
hell. Could the miserable body on which this awful swarm 
of saws and wheels and pincers was preparing to fasten — 
could it be this gentle, pure, and fragile creature ? Poor grain 
of millet which human justice was sending to be ground by 
the grewsome mill-stones of torture ! 

And now the horny hands of Pierrat Torterue's assistants 
had brutally uncovered that charming leg, that tiny foot, which 
had so often astonished the passers-by with their grace and 
beauty in the streets of Paris. 

" Tis a pity ! " growled even the torturer at the sight of 
the slender and delicate limbs. 

Had the Archdeacon been present, he would certainly have 
recalled at this moment his allegory of the spider and the fly. 

Now, through the mist that spread before her eyes, the 
unhappy girl perceived the " boot " being brought forward, 
saw her foot, encased between the iron-bound boards, disap- 
pear within the frightful apparatus. Terror restored her 
strength. " Take it away ! " she cried vehemently, starting up 
all dishevelled : " Mercy ! " 

She sprang from the bed to throw herself at Charmolue's 
feet, but her leg was held fast in the heavy block of oak and 
iron, and she sank over the boot like a bee with a leaden 
weight attached to its wing. 

At a sign from Charmolue they replaced her on the bed, 
and two coarse hands fastened round her slender waist the 
leather strap hanging from the roof. 

" For the last time, do you confess to the facts of the 
charge ? " asked Charmolue with his imperturbable benignity. 

" I am innocent," was the answer. 

" Then, mademoiselle, how do you explain the circum- 
stances brought against you ? " 

" Alas, my lord, I know not." 

"You deny them?" 


" Proceed," said Charmolue to Pierrat. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

Pierrat turned the screw, the boot tightened, and the vic- 
tim uttered one of those horrible screams which have no 
written equivalent in any human language. 

" Stop ! " said Charmolue to Pierrat. " Do you confess ? " 
said he to the girl. 

" All," cried the wretched girl. " I confess ! I confess ! 
Mercy ! " 

She had overestimated her forces in braving the torture. 
Poor child! life had hitherto been so joyous, so pleasant, so 
sweet, the first pang of agony had overcome her! 

" Humanity obliges me to tell you," observed the King's 
attorney, " that in confessing, you have only death to look 
forward to." 

" I hope but for that ! " said she, and fell back again on 
the leather bed, a lifeless heap, hanging doubled over the 
strap buckled round her waist. 

" Hold up, my pretty ! " said Maitre Pierrat, raising her. 
" You look like the golden sheep that hangs round the neck 
of Monsieur of Burgundy." 

Jacques Charmolue raised his voice. " Clerk, write this 
down. Gipsy girl, you confess your participation in the love- 
feasts, Sabbaths, and orgies of hell, in company with evil 
spirits, witches, and ghouls ? Answer ! " 

" Yes," she breathed faintly. 

" You admit having seen the ram which Beelzebub causes 
to appear in the clouds as a signal for the Sabbath, and which 
is only visible to witches ? " 

" Yes." 

" You confess to having adored the heads of Bophomet, 
those abominable idols of the Templars?" 

" Yes." 

" To having had familiar intercourse with the devil under 
the form of a pet goat, included in the prosecution ? " 

" Yes." 

" Finally, you admit and confess to having, on the night 
of the twenty-ninth of March last, with the assistance of the 
demon and of the phantorn commonly called the spectre- 
monk, wounded and assassinated a captain named Phcebus 
de Chateaupers? " 

She raised her glazed eyes to the magistrate and answered 


End of the Crown Piece 

mechanically, without a quiver of emotion, " Yes." It was 
evident that her whole being was crushed. 

" Take that down," said Charmolue to the clerk. Then, 
turning to the torturer, " Let the prisoner be unbound and 
taken back to the court." 

When the prisoner was " unbooted," the procurator of the 
Ecclesiastical Court examined her foot, still paralyzed with 
pain. " Come," said he, " there's no great harm done. You 
cried out in time. You could still dance, ma belle ! " 

And turning to the members of the Office — " At length, 
justice is enlightened! That is a great consolation, mes- 
sieurs ! Mademoiselle will bear witness that we have used 
all possible gentleness towards her." 



When, pale and limping, she re-entered the Court of Jus- 
tice, she was greeted by a general murmur of pleasure — 
arising on the part of the public from that feeling of satisfied 
impatience experienced at the theatre at the expiration of the 
last entr'acte of a play, when the curtain rises and one knows 
that the end is about to begin ; and on the part of the judges 
from the hope of soon getting their supper. The little goat, 
too, bleated with joy. She would have run to her mistress, 
but they had tied her to the bench. 

Night had now completely fallen. The candles, which had 
not been increased in number, gave so little light that the 
walls of the court were no longer visible. Darkness enveloped 
every object in a kind of mist, through which the apathetic 
faces of the judges were barely distinguishable. Opposite to 
them, at the extremity of the long hall, they could just see 
a vague white point standing out against the murky back- 
ground. It was the prisoner. 

She had dragged herself to her place. When Charmolue 
had magisterially installed himself in his, he sat down, then 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

rose and said, without allowing all too much of his satisfac- 
tion at his success to become apparent : " The prisoner has 
confessed all." 

"Bohemian girl," said the President, "you have confessed 
to all your acts of sorcery, of prostitution, and of assas- 
sination committed upon the person of Phoebus de Chateau- 
pers ? " 

Her heart contracted. They could hear her sobbing 
through the darkness. " What you will," she returned feebly, 
" only make an end of me quickly ! " 

" Monsieur the King's Attorney in the Ecclesiastical Court, 
the court is ready to hear your requisitions." 

Maitre Charmolue drew forth an appalling document, and 
commenced reading with much gesticulation and the exag- 
gerated emphasis of the Bar a Latin oration, in which all the 
evidences of the trial were set out in Ciceronian periphrases, 
flanked by citations from Plautus. We regret being unable 
to oilfer our readers this remarkable composition. The author 
delivered it with marvellous eloquence. He had not con- 
cluded the exordium before the perspiration was streaming 
from his brow and his eyes starting from his head. 

Suddenly, in the verv' middle of a rounded period, he broke 
oflf short, and his countenance, usually mild enough not to 
say stupid, became absolutely terrible. 

" Sirs ! " he cried (this time in French, for it was not in 
the document), " Satan is so profoundly involved in this affair, 
that behold him present at our councils and making a mock 
of the majesty of the law. Behold him ! " 

So saying, he pointed to the goat, which, seeing Charmolue 
gesticulate, thought it the right and proper thing to do like- 
wise, and seated on her haunches was mimicking to the best 
of her ability with her fore-feet and bearded head the impres- 
sive pantomime of the King's Attorney in the Ecclesiastical 
Court. This, if you will remember, was one of her most en- 
gaging performances. 

This incident — this final proof — produced a great effect. 
They bound the goat's feet, and Charmolue resumed the 
thread of his eloquence. 

It was long indeed, but the peroration was admirable. The 
last sentence ran thus — let the reader add in imagination. 


End of the Crown Piece 

the raucous voice and broken-winded elocution of Maitre 
Charmolue : 

Idco, domini, coram stryga demonstrata, crimine patente, 
intentione criminis existentc, in nomine sanctce ecclesicB Nostrco- 
DomincB Parisiensis, qua: est in saisina habendi omnimodam altam 
ef bassam, justitiani in ilia hac intemerata Civitatis insida, tenore 
prcusentiwn declaramus nos requirere, primo, aliquandam pecunia- 
riam indemnitatcm; sccundo, amendationem honorabilcm ante 
portalium maximum Nostrce-Domuics, ecclcsico cathcdralis ; tertio, 
sententiam, in virtute cujus ista stryga cum sua capella, sen in 
trivia vulgariter dicto ' La Greve,^ seu in insula exeunte in Huvio 
Scquance, juxta pointam jardini regalis, executes sint." * 

He resumed his cap and sat down again. 

"Ehcn!" groaned Gringoire, overwhelmed with grief. 
" Bassa latinifas." f 

Another man in a black gown now rose near the prisoner. 
It was her advocate. The fasting judges began to murmur. 

" Advocate," said the President, " be brief." 

" Monsieur the President," replied the advocate, " since 
the defendant has confessed the crime, I have but one word 
to say to these gentlemen. I bring to their notice the fol- 
lowing passage of the Salic law : ' If a witch have devoured 
a man and be convicted of it, she shall pay a fine of eight 
thousand deniers, which makes two hundred sous of gold.' 
Let the court condemn my client to the fine." 

" An abrogated clause," said the King's Advocate Ex- 

" Nego." X 

* Therefore, gentlemen, the witchcraft being proved and the crime 
made manifest, as likewise the criminal intention, in the name of the 
holy church of Notre-Dame de Paris, which is seized of the right of all 
manner of justice high and low, within this inviolate island of the city, 
we declare by the tenor of these presents that we require, firstly, a pecu- 
niary compensation ; secondly, penance before the great portal of the 
cathedral church of Notre-Dame ; thirdly, a sentence, by virtue of which 
this witch, together with her goat, shall either in the public square, com- 
monly called La Grfeve, or in the island stretching out into the river Seine, 
adjacent to the point of the royal gardens, be executed. 

f Oh, the monk's Latin ! 

X I sa-y No. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

" Put it to the vote ! " suggested a councillor ; " the crime 
is manifest, and it is late." 

The votes were taken without leaving the court. The 
judges gave their votes without a moment's hesitation — they 
were in a hurry. One after another their heads w^ere bared 
at the lugubrious question addressed to them in turn in a 
low voice by the President. The hapless prisoner seemed to 
be looking at them, but her glazed eyes no longer saw 

The clerk then began to write, and presently handed a 
long scroll of parchment to the President ; after which the 
poor girl heard the people stirring, and an icy voice say : 

" Bohemian girl, on such a day as it shall please our lord 
the King to appoint, at the hour of noon, you shall be taken 
in a tumbrel, in your shift, barefoot, a rope round your neck, 
before the great door of Notre-Dame, there to do penance 
with a wax candle of two pounds' weight in your hands ; and 
from there you shall be taken to the Place-de-Greve, where 
you will be hanged and strangled on the town gibbet, and 
your goat likewise ; and shall pay to the Office three lion- 
pieces of gold in reparation of the crimes, by you committed 
and confessed, of sorcery, magic, prostitution, and murder 
against the person of the Sieur Phoebus de Chateaupers. And 
God have mercy on your soul ! " 

" Oh, 'tis a dream ! " she murmured, and she felt rude 
hands bearing her away. 



In the Middle Ages, when an edifice was complete there 
was almost as much of it under the ground as over it. Ex- 
cept it were built on piles, like Notre-Dame, a palace, a 
fortress, a church, had always a double foundation. In the 
cathedrals it formed in some sort a second cathedral — sub- 
terranean, low-pitched, dark, mysterious — blind and dumb — 


Lasciate Ogni Speranza 

under the aisles of the building above, which were flooded 
with light and resonant day and night with the music of the 
organ or the bells. Sometimes it was a sepulchre. In the 
palaces and fortresses it was a prison — or a sepulchre — some- 
times both together. These mighty masses of masonry, of 
which we have explained elsewhere the formation and growth, 
had not mere foundations, but more properly speaking roots 
branching out underground into chambers, passages, and 
stairways, the counterpart of those above. Thus the churches, 
palaces, and bastilles might be said to be sunk in the ground 
up to their middle. The vaults of an edifice formed another 
edifice, in which you descended instead of ascending, the sub- 
terranean storeys of which extended downward beneath the 
pile of exterior storeys, like those inverted forests and moun- 
tains mirrored in the waters of a lake beneath the forests 
and mountains of its shores. 

At the Bastille Saint-Antoine, at the Palais de Justice, and 
at the Louvre, these subterranean edifices were prisons. The 
storeys of these prisons as they sank into the ground became 
even narrower and darker — so many zones presenting, as by 
a graduated scale, deeper and deeper shades of horror. Dante 
could find nothing better for the construction of his Inferno. 
These dungeon funnels usually ended in a tub-shaped pit, in 
which Dante placed his Satan and society the criminal con- 
demned to death. When once a miserable being was there 
interred, farewell to light, air, life — ogni speranza — he never 
issued forth again but to the gibbet or the stake unless, 
indeed, he were left to rot there — which human justice called 
forgctt'ng. Between mankind and the condemned, weighing 
upon his head, there was an accumulated mass of stone and 
jailers; and the whole prison, the massive fortress, was but 
one enormous complicated lock that barred him from the 
living world. 

It was in one of these deep pits, in the ouhliettes excavated 
by Saint-Louis, in the " in pace " of the Tournelle — doubt- 
less for fear of her escaping — that they had deposited Es- 
meralda, now .condemned to the gibbet, with the colossal 
Palais de Justice over her head — poor fly, that could not 
have moved the smallest of its stones ! Truly, Providence 
and social law alike had been too lavish; such a profusion 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

of misery and torture was not necessary to crush so fragile 
a creature. 

She lay there, swallowed up by the darkness, entombed, 
walled, lost to the world. Any one seeing her in that state, 
after beholding her laughing and dancing in the sunshine, 
would have shuddered. Cold as night, cold as death, no 
breath of air to stir her locks, no himian sound to reach her 
ear, no ray of light within her eye — broken, weighed down 
by chains, crouching beside a pitcher and a loaf of bread, on 
a heap of straw, in the pool of water formed by the oozings 
of the dungeon walls — motionless, almost breathless, she was 
even past suffering. Phcebus, the sun, noonday, the free air, 
the streets of Paris, dancing and applause, her tender love 
passages with the officer — then the priest, the old hag, the 
dagger, blood, torture, the gibbet — all this passed "in turn 
before her mind, now as a golden vision of delight, now as 
a hideous nightmare ; but her apprehension of it all was now 
merely that of a vaguely horrible struggle in the darkness, 
or of distant music still playing above ground but no longer 
audible at the depth to which the unhappy girl had fallen. 

Since she had been here she neither waked nor slept. In 
that unspeakable misery, in that dungeon, she could no more 
distinguish waking from sleeping, dreams from reality, thar 
day from night. All was mingled, broken, floating confus- 
edly through her mind. She no longer felt, no longer knew 
no longer thought anything definitely — at most she dreamed 
Never has human creature been plunged deeper into an- 

Thus benumbed, frozen, petrified, scarcely had she re- 
marked at two or tltfee~3rfferent times the sound of a trap- 
door opening somewhere above her head, without even admit 
ting a ray of light, and through which a hand had throwr 
her down a crust of black bread. Yet this was her only sur 
viving communication with mankind — the periodical visit o 
the jailer, 
sb One thing alone still mechanically occupied her ear 
'over her hea d thejnoisture filtered through the mouldy stone; 
o tthe vau lt, and at regular intervals a d^rop of water fellfron 
JXi— She listened stupidly to the splash macle by tliis"^drippin^ 
water as it fell into the pool beside her. 


Lasciate Ogni Speranza 

This drop of water falling into the pool was the only move- 
me"nr?till perceptible around her, the only clock by which to 
measure^ 1;ime,, the only sound that reached her of all the tur- 
moil going' on on earth ; though, to be quite accurate, she was 
conscious from time to time in that sink of mire and dark- 
ness of something cold passing over her foot or her arm, 
and that made her shiver. 

How long had she been there? She knew not. She re- 
membered a sentence of death being pronounced somewhere 
against some one, and then that she herself had been car- 
ried away, and that she had awakened in silence and dark- 
ness, frozen to the bone. She had crawled along on her 
hands and knees, she had felt iron rings cutting her ankles, 
and chains had clanked. She had discovered that all around 
her were walls, that underneath her were wet flag-stones and 
a handful of straw — but there was neither lamp nor air-hole. 
Then she had seated herself upon the straw, and sometimes 
for a change of position on the lowest step of a stone flight 
she had come upon in the dungeon. 

Once she had tried to count the black minutes marked 
for her by the_drip of the water4-but soon this mournful 
labour of a sick brain had discontinued of itself and left her 
in stupor once more. 

At length, one day — or one night (for mid-day and mid- 
night had the same hue in this sepulchre) — she heard above 
her a louder noise than the turnkey generally made when 
bringing her loaf of bread and pitcher of water. She raised 
her head, and was aware of a red gleam of light through 
the crevices of the sort of door or trap in the roof of the 
vault. At the same time the massive lock creaked, the trap- 
door grated on its hinges, fell back, and she saw a lantern, 
a hand, and the lower part of the bodies of tw-o men, the door 
being too low for her to see their heads. The light stabbed 
her eyes so sharply that she closed them. 

When she opened them again the door was closed, the 
lantern placed on one of the steps, and one of the two men 
alone was standing before her. A black monk's robe fell to 
his feet, a cowl of the same hue concealed his face ; nothing 
of his person was visible, neither his face nor his hands — it 
^^as simply a tall black shroud under which you felt rather 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

than saw that something moved. For some moments she 
regarded this kind of spectre fixedly, but neither she nor it 
spoke. They might have been two statues confronting one 
another. Two things only seemed alive in this tomb : the 
wick of the lantern that sputtered in the night air and the 
drop of water falling with its monotonous splash from the 
rooTand making the reflection of the light tremble in con- 
centric circles on th'^ oily surface of the pool. 

At last the prisoner broke the s-ilence. " Who are 
you? " 

" A priest." 

The word, the tone, the voice made her start. 

The priest continued in low tones : 

" Are vou prepared ? " 

"For what?" 

" For death." 

" Oh ! " she exclaimed, " will it be soon ? " 

" To-morrow." 

Her head, raised with joy, fell again on her bosom. 

" 'Tis very long to wait," she sighed; "why not to-day? 
It could not matter to them." 

"You are, then, very wretched?" asked the priest after 
another silence. 

" I am very cofd," said she. 

She took her two feet in her hands — the habitual gesture 
of the unfortunate who are cold, and which we have already 
remarked in the recluse of the Tour-Roland — and her teeth 

From under his hood the priest's eyes appeared to be sur- 
veying the dungeon. " No light ! no fire ! in the water ! — 
'tis horrible ! " 

" Yes," she answered with the bewildered air which misery 
had given her. " The day is for every one, why do they 
give me only night ? " 

" Do you know," resumed the priest after another silence, 
" why you are here ? " 

" I think I knew it once," she said pressing her wasted 
fingers to her brow as if to aid her memory; "but I do not 
know now." \ 

Suddenly she began to weep like a child. " I want to gi 

322 j 

Lasciate Ogni Speranza 

away from here, sir. I am cold, I am frightened, and there 
are beasts that crawl over me." 

" Well, then — follow me ! " And so saying, the priest 
seized her by the arm. The unhappy girl was already frozen 
to the heart's core, but yet that hand felt cold to her. 

"Oh," she murmured, " 'tis the icy hand of Death ! Who 
are you ? " 

The priest raised his cowl. She looked — it was the sin- 
ister face that had so long pursued her, the devilish head 
that she had seen above the adored head of her Phoebus, the 
eye that she had last seen glittering beside a dagger. 

This apparition, always so fatal to her, which thus had 
thrust her on from misfortune to misfortune, even to an igno- 
minious death, roused her from her stupor. The sort of 
veil that seemed to have woven itself over her memory was 
rent aside. All the details of her grewsome adventures, from 
the nocturnal scene at La Falourdel's to her condemnation at 
La Tournelle, came back to her with a rush — not vague and 
confused as heretofore, but distinct, clear-cut, palpitating, 
terrible. These recollections, well-nigh obliterated by excess 
of sufifering, revived at sight of that sombre figure, as the 
heat of the fire brings out afresh upon the blank paper the 
invisible writing traced on it by sympathetic ink. She felt 
as if all the wounds of her heart were reopened and bleeding 
at once. 

" Ah ! " she cried, her hands covering her face with a con- 
vulsive shudder, " it is the priest ! " 

Then she let her arms drop helplessly and sat where she 
was, her head bent, her eyes fixed on the ground, speechless, 
shaking from head to foot. 

The priest gazed at her with the eye of the kite which 
after long hovering high in the air above a poor lark cow- 
ering in the corn, gradually and silently lessening the formi- 
dable circles of its flight, now suddenly makes a lightning dart 
upon its prey and holds it panting in its talons. 

" Finish," she murmured in a whisper, " finish — the last 
blow ! " And her head shrank in terror between her shoul- 
ders like the sheep that awaits the death-stroke of the butcher. 

" You hold me in horror then ? " he said at last. 

She made no reply. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

" Do you hold me in horror? " he repeated. 

Her Hps contracted as if she smiled. '* Go to," said she, 
*' the executioner taunts the condemned ! For months he 
has pursued me, threatened me, terrified me ! But for him, , 
my God, how happy I was ! It is he who has cast me into 
this pit ! Oh, heavens ! it is he who has killed — it is he who 
has murdered him — my Phoebus ! " 

Here, bursting into tears, she lifted her eyes to the priest, 
" Oh, wretch ! who are you ? — what have I done to you that 
you should hate me so ? Alas ! what have you against me ? " 

" I love thee ! " cried the priest. 

Her tears ceased suddenly. She regarded him with an 
idiotic stare. He had sunk on his knees before her and 
enveloped her in a gaze of flame. 

" Dost thou hear ? I love thee ! " he cried again. 

" What love is that ! " she shuddered. 

" The love of the damned ! " he answered. 

Both remained silent for some minutes, crushed under the 
load of their emotion — he distraught, she stupefied. 

" Listen," the priest began at last, and a strange calm 
had come over him ; " thou shalt know all. I am going to 
tell thee what I have hitherto scarcely dared to say to myself 
when I furtively searched my conscience in those deep hours 
of the night, when it seems so dark that God himself can see 
us no longer. Listen. Before I saw thee, girl, I was happy." 

" And I," she faintly murmured. 

" Do not interrupt me — Yes, I was happy, or at least 
judged myself to be so. I was pure — my soul was filled with 
limpid light. No head was lifted so high, so radiantly as 
mine. Priests consulted me upon chastity, ecclesiastics upoa 
doctrine. Yes, learning was all in all to me — it was a sister, 
and a sister suf^ced me. Not but what, in time, other thoughts 
came to me. More than once my flesh stirred at the passing 
of some female form. The power of sex and of a man's 
blood that, foolish adolescent, I had thought stifled forever, 
had more than once shaken convulsively the iron chain of the 
vows that rivet me, hapless wretch, to the cold stones of the 
altar. But fasting, prayer, study, the mortifications of the 
cloister again restored the empire of the soul over the body. 
Also I strenuously avoided women. Besides, I had but to 


Lasclate Ogn-i Speranza 

open a book, and all the impure vapours of my brain were 
dissipated by the splendid beams of learning ; the gross things 
of this earth fled from before me, and I found myself once 
more calm, serene, and joyous in the presence of the steady 
radiance of eternal truth. So long as the foul fiend only 
sent against me indefinite shadows of women passing here 
and there before my eyes, in the church, in the streets, in the 
fields, and which scarce returned to me in my dreams, I 
vanquished him easily. Alas ! if it stayed not with me, the 
fault lies with God, who made not man and the demon of 
equal strength. Listen. One day " 

Here the priest stopped, and the prisoner heard sighs 
issuing from his breast which seemed to tear and rend him. 

He resumed. " One day I was leaning at the window of 
my cell. What book was I reading? Oh, all is confusion in 
my mind — I was reading. The window overlooked an open 
square. I heard a sound of a tambourine and of music. 
Vexed at being thus disturbed in my meditation, I looked 
into the square. What I saw, there were others who saw it 
too, and yet it was no spectacle meet for mortal eyes. There, 
in the middle of the open space — it was noon — a burning sun 
— a girl was dancing — but a creature so beautiful that God 
would have preferred her before the Virgin — would have 
chosen her to be His mother — if she had existed when He 
became man. Her eyes were dark and radiant ; amid her 
raven tresses where the sun shone through were strands that 
glistened like threads of gold. Her feet were invisible in the 
rapidity of their movement, as are the spokes of a wheel 
when it turns at high speed. Round her head, among her 
ebon tresses, were discs of metal that glittered in the sun 
and formed about her brows a diadem of stars. Her kirtle, 
thick-set with spangles, twinkled all blue and studded with 
sparks like a summer's night. Her brown and supple arms 
twined and untwined themselves about her waist like two 
scarfs. Her form was of bewildering beauty. Oh, the daz- 
zling figure that stood out luminous against the very sunlight 
itself! Alas, girl, it was thou! Astounded, intoxicated, en- 
chanted, I sufifered myself to gaze upon thee. I watched thee 
long till suddenly I trembled with horror — I felt that Fate 
was laying hold on me." 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

Gasping for breath, the priest ceased speaking for a mo- 
ment, then he went on : 

" Already half-fascinated, I strove to cling to something, 
to keep myself from slipping farther, I recalled the snares 
which Satan had already laid for me. The creature before 
me had such supernatural beauty as could only be of heaven 
or hell. That was no mere human girl fashioned out of 
particles of common clay and feebly illumined from within by 
the flickering ray of a woman's soul. It was an angel ! — but 
of darkness — of flame, not of light. At the same moment of 
thinking thus, I saw near thee a goat — a beast of the witches' 
Sabbath, that looked at me and grinned. The midday sun 
gilded its horns with fire. 'Twas then I caught sight of the 
devil's snare, and I no longer doubted that thou camest from 
hell, and that thou wast sent from thence for my perdition. 
I beheved it." 

The priest looked the prisoner in the face and added 
coldlv : 

" And I believe so still. However, the charm acted by 
degrees ; thy dancing set my brain in a maze ; I felt the 
mysterious spell working within me. All that should have 
kept awake fell asleep in my soul, and like those who perish 
in the snow, I found pleasure in yielding to that slumber. 
All at once thou didst begin to sing. What could I do, 
unhappy wretch that I was. Thy song was more enchanting 
still than thy dance. I tried to flee. Impossible. I was nailed, 
I was rooted to the spot. I felt as if the stone floor had risen 
and engulfed me to the knees. I was forced to remain to the 
end. My feet were ice, my head was on fire. At length thou 
didst, mayhap, take pity on me — thou didst cease to sing — 
didst disappear. The reflection of the dazzling vision, the 
echo of the enchanting music, died away by degrees from my 
eyes and ears. Then I fell into the embrasure of the window, 
more stark and helpless than a statue loosened from the pedes- 
tal. The vesper bell awoke me. « I rose — I fled ; but alas ! 
there was something within me fallen to arise no more — 
something had come upon me from which I could not flee." 

Again he paused and then resumed : " Yes, from that day 
onward there was within me a man I did not know. I had 
recourse to all my remedies — the cloister, the altar, labour, 


Lasciate Ogni Speranza 

books. Useless folly! Oh, how hollow does science sound 
when a head full of passion strikes against it in despair! 
Knowest thou, girl, what it was that now came between me 
and my books? It was thou, thy shadow, the image of the 
radiant apparition which had one day crossed my path. But 
that image no longer wore the same bright hue — it was som- 
bre, funereal, black as the dark circle which haunts the vision 
of the imprudent eye that has gazed too fixedly at the sun, 

" Unable to rid myself of it ; with thy song forever throb- 
bing in my ear, thy feet dancing on my breviary, forever in 
the night-watches and in my dreams feeling the pressure of 
thy form against my side — I desired to see thee closer, to 
touch thee, to know who thou wert, to see if I should find 
thee equal to the ideal image that I had retained of thee. In 
any case, I hoped that a new impression would efface the , 
former one, for it had become insupportable. I sought thee 
out, I saw thee again. Woe is me ! When I had seen thee 
twice, I longed to see thee a thousand times, to gaze at thee 
forever. After that — how stop short on that hellish incline ? — 
after that my soul was no longer my own. The other end 
of the thread which the demon had woven about my wings 
was fastened to his cloven foot. I became vagrant and wan- 
dering like thyself — I waited for thee under porches — I spied 
thee out at the corners of streets — I watched thee from the 
top of my tower. Each evening I returned more charmed, 
more despairing, more bewitched, more lost than before. 

" I had learned who thou wast — a gipsy — a Bohemian — 
a gitana — a zingara. How could I doubt of the witchcraft? 
Listen. I hoped that a prosecution would rid me of the 
spell. A sorceress had bewitched Bruno of Ast ; he had her 
burned, and was cured. I knew this. I would try this 
remedy. First, I had thee forbidden the Parvis of Notre- 
Dame, hoping to forget thee if thou camest no more. Thou 
didst not heed it. Thou camest again. Then I had the idea 
of carrying thee ofT. One night I attempted it. We were 
two of us. Already we had thee fast, when that miserable 
ofificer came upon the scene. He delivered thee, and so began 
thy misfortunes — and mine — and his own as well. At length, 
not knowing what to do or what was to become of me, I 
denounced thee to the Holy Office. 

P 327 Vol. 4 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

" I thought that I should thus be cured Hke Bruno of Ast. 
I thought too, confusedly, that a prosecution would deliver 
thee into my hands, that once in prison I should hold thee, 
that thou couldst not then escape me — that thou hadst pos- 
sessed me long enough for me to possess thee in my turn. 
When one sets out upon an evil path, one should go the whole 
way — 'tis madness to stop midway in the monstrous ! The 
extremity of crime has its delirium of joy. A priest and a 
witch may taste of all delights in one another's arms on the 
straw pallet of a dungeon. 

" So I denounced thee. 'Twas then I began to terrify thee 
whenever I met thee. The plot which I w^as weaving against 
thee, the storm which I was brewing over thy head, burst 
from me in muttered threats and lightning glances. And yet 
I hesitated. My project had appalling aspects from which 
I shrank. 

" It may be that I would have renounced it — that my 
hideous thought would have withered in my brain without 
bearing fruit. I thought it would always depend on myself 
either to follow up or set aside this prosecution. But every 
evil thought is inexorable and will become an act ; and there, 
where I thought myself all-powerful, Fate was more powerful 
than I. Alas ! alas ! 'tis Fate has laid hold on thee and cast 
thee in among the dread wheels of the machinery I had con- 
structed in secret ! Listen. I have almost done. 

" One day — it was again a day of sunshine — a man 
passes me who speaks thy name and laughs with the gleam 
of lust in his eyes. Damnation ! I followed him. Thou 
knowest the rest " 

He ceased. 

The girl could find but one word — " Oh, my Phoebus ! " 

" Not that name ! " exclaimed the priest, grasping her arm 
with violence. " Utter not that name ! Oh, wretched that 
we are, 'tis that name has undone us ! Nay, rather we 
have all undone one another through the inexplicable play 
of Fate ! Thou art suffering, art thou not ? Thou art cold ; 
the darkness blinds thee, the dungeon wraps thee round ; but 
mayhap thou hast still more light shining within thee — were 
it only thy childish love for the fatuous being who was 
trifling with thy heart! w^hile I — I bear the dungeon within 


Lasciate Ogni Speranza 

me; within, my heart is winter, ice, despair — black nig^ht 
reigns in my soul ! Knowest thou all that I have suffered ? 
I was present at the trial. I was seated among- the members 
of the Office. Yes, one of those priestly cowls hid the con- 
tortions of the damned. When they led thee in, I was there ; 
while they questioned thee, I was there. Oh, den of wolves! 
It was my own crime — my own gibbet that I saw slowly rising 
above thy head. At each deposition, each proof, each plead- 
ing, I was present — I could count thy every step along that 
dolorous path. I was there, too, when that wild beast — oh, I 
had not foreseen the torture! Listen. I followed thee into 
the chamber of anguish ; I saw thee disrobed and half-naked 
under the vile hands of the torturer; saw thy foot — that foot 
I would have given an empire to press one kiss upon and 
die; that foot which I would have rejoiced to feel crushing 
my head — that foot I saw put into the horrible boot that 
turns the limbs of a human being into a gory pulp. Oh, 
miserable that I am ! While I looked on at this, I had a 
poniard under my gown with which I lacerated my breast. 
At thy cry I plunged it into my flesh — a second cry from 
thee and it should have pierced my heart. Look — I believe 
it still bleeds." 

He opened his cassock. His breast was indeed scored 
as by a tiger's claws, and in his side was a large, badly 
healed wound. 

The prisoner recoiled in horror, 

" Oh, girl ! " cried the priest, " have pity on me ! Thou 
deemest thyself miserable — alas ! alas ! thou knowest not what 
misery is. Oh, to love a woman — to be a priest — to be hated 
— to love her with all the fury of one's soul, to feel that for 
the least of her smiles one would give one's blood, one's vitals, 
fame, salvation, immortality, and eternity — this life and the 
life to come ; to regret not being a king, a genius, an emperor, 
an archangel — God — that one might place a greater slave 
beneath her feet ; to clasp her day and night in one's dreams, 
one's thoughts — and then to see her in love with the trap- 
pings of a soldier, and have naught to ofifer her but the un- 
sightly cassock of a priest, which she will only regard with 
fear and disgust ! To be present with one's jealousy and rage 
while she lavishes on a miserable, brainless swashbuckler her 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

whole treasure of love and beauty! To see the form that 
enflames you, that soft bosom, that flesh panting and glowing 
under the kisses of another ! Dear heaven — to adore her foot, 
her arm, her shoulder, to dream of her blue veins, her sun- 
browned skin till one writhes whole nights upon the stones of 
one's cell, and to see all those caresses, which one has dreamed 
of lavishing on her, end in her torture ! To have succeeded 
only in laying her on the bed of leather ! Oh, these are the 
irons heated in the fires of hell ! Oh, blest is he who is sawn 
asunder, torn by four horses ! Knowest thou what that tor- 
ture is, endured through long nights from seething arteries, 
a breaking heart, a bursting head — burying your teeth in your 
own hands — fell tormentors that unceasingly turn you as on 
a burning gridiron over a thought of love, of jealousy, and of 
despair ! Have mercy, girl ! One moment's respite from my 
torment — a handful of ashes on this white heat ! Wipe away, 
I conjure thee, the drops of agony that trickle from my brow!' 
Child, torture me with one hand, but caress me with the 
other ! Have pity, girl — have pity on me ! " 

The priest writhed on the wet floor and beat his head 
against the corner of the stone steps. The girl listened to 
him — gazed at him. 

When he ceased, exhausted and panting, she repeated 
under her breath : " Oh. my Phoebus ! " 

The priest dragged himself to her on his knees. 

" I beseech thee." he cried, " if thou hast any bowels of 
compassion, repulse me not ! Oh, I love thee ! I am a 
wretch ! When thou utterest that name, unhappy girl, 'tis as 
if thou wert grinding every fibre of my heart between thy 
teeth ! Have pity ! if thou comest from hell, I go thither 
with thee. I have done amply to deserve that. The hell 
where thou art shall be my paradise — the sight of thee is 
more to be desired than that of God ! Oh, tell me, wilt thou 
have none of me? I would have thought the very moun- 
tains had moved ere a woman would have rejected such a 
love! Oh, if thou wouldst — how happy we could be! We 
would flee — I could contrive thy escape — we would go some- 
where — we would seek that spot on earth where the sun 
shines brightest, the trees are most luxuriant, the sky the 
bluest. We would love — would mingle our two souls to- 


Lasciate Ogni Speranza 

gether — would each have an inextinguishable thirst for the 
other, which we would quench at the inexhaustible fountain 
of our love ! " 

She interrupted him with a horrible and strident laugh: 
" Look, holy father, there is blood upon your nails ! " 

The priest remained for some moments as if petrified, his 
eyes fixed on his hand. 

" Well, be it so," he continued at last, with strange calm; 
" insult me, taunt me, overwhelm me with scorn, but come — 
come away. Let us hasten. 'Tis for to-morrow, I tell thee. 
The gibbet of La Greve — thou knowest — it is always in readi- 
ness. Tis horrible ! — to see thee carried in that tumbrel ! Oh, 
have pity ! I never felt till now how much I loved thee. Oh, 
follow me ! Thou shalt take time to love me after I have 
saved thee. Thou shalt hate me as long as thou wilt — but 
come. To-morrow — to-morrow — the gibbet! — thy execution! 
Oh, save thyself ! spare me ! " 

He seized her by the arm distractedly and sought to drag 
her away. 

She turned her fixed gaze upon him. " What has become 
of Phoebus ? " 

" Ah," said the priest, letting go her arm, " you have 
no mercy ! " 

" What has become of Phoebus ? " she repeated stonily. 

" Dead ! " cried the priest. 

" Dead ? " said she, still icy and motionless ; " then why 
talk to me of living ? " 

He was not listening to her. 

"Ah, yes," he said, as if speaking to himself, "he must 
be dead. The knife went deep. I think I reached his heart 
with the point. Oh, my soul was in that dagger to the 
very point ! " 

The girl threw herself upon him with the fury of a tigress, 
and thrust him towards the steps with supernatural strength. 

"' Begone, monster ! Begone, assassin ! Leave me to die ! 
IVIay the blood of both of us be an everlasting stain upon 
thy brow! Be thine, priest? Never! never! no power shall 
unite us — not hell itself ! Begone, accursed — never ! " 

The priest stumbled against the steps. He silently disen- 
gaged his feet from the folds of his robe, took up his lantern, 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

and began slowly to ascend the steps leading to the door. 
He opened the door and went out. 

Suddenly she saw his head reappear. His face wore a 
frightful expression, and he cried with a voice hoarse with 
rage and despair : 

" I tell thee he is dead ! " 

She fell on her face to the floor. No sound was now 
audible in the dungeon but the tinkle of the drop of wiiter 
which rufifled the surface of the pool in the darkness. 


I DOUBT if there be anything in the world more enchanting 
to a mother's heart than the thoughts awakened by the sight 
of her child's little shoe — more especially when it is the holi- 
day shoe, the Sunday, the christening shoe — the shoe em- 
broidered to the very sole, a shoe in which the child has not 
yet taken a step. The shoe is so tiny, has such a charm in 
it, it is so impossible for it to walk, that it is to the mother as 
if she saw her child. She smiles at it, kisses it, babbles to it ; 
she asks herself if it can be that there is a foot so small, and 
should the child be absent, the little shoe suffices to bring 
back to her vision the sweet and fragile creature. She imagines 
she sees it — she does see it — living, laughing, w'ith its tender 
hands, its little round head, its dewy lips, its clear bright eyes. 
If it be winter, there it is creeping about the carpet, labori- 
ously clambering over a stool, and the mother trembles lest 
it come too near the fire. If it be summer, it creeps about 
the garden, plucks up the grass between the stones, gazes 
with the artless courage of childhood at the great dogs, the 
great horses, plays with the shell borders, with the flowers, 
and makes the gardener scold when he finds sand in the 
flower-beds and earth on all the paths. The whole world 
smiles, and shines, and plays round it like itself, even to the 
breeze and the sunbeams that wanton in its curls. The shoe 


The Mother 

brings up all this before the mother's eye, and her heart melts 
thereat like wax before the fire. 

But if the child be lost, these thousand images of joy, of 
delight, of tenderness crowded round the little shoe become 
so many pictures of horror. The pretty embroidered thing 
is then an instrument of torture eternally racking the mother's 
heart. It is still the same string that vibrates — the deepest, 
most sensitive of the human heart — but instead of the caress- 
ing touch of an angel's hand, it is a demon's horrid clutch 
upon it. 

One morning, as the May sun rose into one of those deep 
blue skies against which Garofalo loves to set his Descents 
from the Cross, the recluse of the Tour- Roland heard a sound 
of wheels and horses and the clanking of iron in the Place 
de Greve. But little moved by it, she knotted her hair over 
her ears to deaden the sound, and resumed her contemplation 
of the object she had been adoring on her knees for fifteen 
years. That little shoe, as we have already said, was to her 
the universe. Her thoughts were wrapped up in it, never to 
leave it till death. What bitter imprecations she had sent 
up to heaven, what heart-rending plaints, what prayers and 
sobs over this charming rosy toy, the gloomy cell of the Tour- 
Roland alone knew. Never was greater despair lavished upon 
a thing so engaging and so pretty. 

On this morning it seemed as though her grief found 
more than usually violent expression, and her lamentations 
could be heard in the street as she cried aloud in monotonous 
tones that wrung the heart : 

" Oh, my child ! " she moaned, " my child ! my dear and 
hapless babe! shall I never see thee more? All hope is over! 
It seems to me always as if it had happened but yesterday. 
My God! my God! to have taken her from me so soon, it 
had been better never to have given her to me at all. Know- 
est thou not that our children are flesh of our flesh, and that a 
mother who has lost her child believes no longer in God? 
Ah, wretched that I am, to have gone out that day! Lord! 
Lord ! to have taken her from me so ! Thou canst never 
have looked upon us together — when I warmed her, all sweet 
and rosy, at my fire — when I suckled her — when I made her 
little feet creep up my bosom to my lips! Ah, hadst thou 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

seen that, Lord, thou wouldst have had pity on my joy — 
hadst not taken from me the only thing left for me to love ! 
Was I so degraded a creature, Lord, that thou couldst not 
look at me before condemning me ? Woe ! woe is me ! — 
there is the shoe — but the foot — where is it? — where is the 
rest — where is the child ? My babe, my babe ! what have 
they done with thee? Lord, give her back to me! For 
fifteen years have I worn away my knees in prayer to thee, 

God — is that not enough? Give her back to me for one 
day, one hour, one minute — only one minute. Lord, and then 
cast me into hell for all eternity ! Ah, did I but know where 
to find one corner of the hem of thy garment, I would cling 
to it with both hands and importune thee till thou wast forced 
to give me back my child ! See its pretty little shoe — hast 
thou no pity on it. Lord ? Canst thou condemn a poor mother 
to fifteen years of such torment? Holy Virgin — dear mother 
in heaven ! my Infant Jesus — they have taken it from me — 
they have stolen it, they have devoured it on the wild moor — 
have drunk its blood — have gnawed its bones ; Blessed Virgin, 
have pity on me ! My babe — I want my babe ! What care 

1 that she is in paradise? I will have none of your angels — 
I want my child ! I am a lioness, give me my cub. Oh, I 
wall writhe on the ground — I will dash my forehead against 
the stones — I will damn myself, and curse thee. Lord, if thou 
keepest my child from me ! Thou seest that my arms are 
gnawed all over — has the good God no pity? Oh, give me 
but a little black bread and salt, only let me have my child 
to warm me like the sun ! Alas ! O Lord my God, I am the 
vilest of sinners, but my child made me pious — I was full ti 
religion out of love for her, and I beheld thee through her 
smiles as through an opening in heaven. Oh, let me only 
once, once more only, once more draw this little shoe on to 
her sweet rosy little foot, and I will die. Holy Mother, bless- 
ing thee! Ah, fifteen years — she will be a woman grown 
now ! Unhappy child ! is it then indeed true that I shall never 
see her more? — not even in heaven, for there I shall never 
go. Oh, woe is me ! to have to say. There is her shoe, and 
that is all I shall ever have of her ! " 

The unhappy creature threw herself upon the shoe — ^her 
consolation and her despair for so many years — and her very 


The Mother 

soul was rent with sobs as on the first day. For to a mother 
who has lost her child, it is always the first day — that grief 
never grows old. The mourning garments may wear out 
and lose their sombre hue, the heart remains black as on the 
first day. 

At that moment the blithe, fresh voices of children passing 
the cell struck upon her ear. Whenever children met her 
eye or ear, the poor mother would cast herself into the darkest 
corner of her living sepulchre, as if she sought to bury her 
head in the stone wall that she might not hear them. This 
time, contrary to her habit, she started up and listened eagerly, 
for one of them had said : " They are going to hang a gipsy 
woman to-day." 

With the sudden bound of the spider which we have 
seen rush upon the fly at the shaking of his web, she ran 
to her loophole which looked out, as the reader knows, 
upon the Place de Greve. In effect, a ladder was placed 
against the gibbet, and the hangman's assistant was busy 
adjusting the chains rusted by the rain. A few people stood 

The laughing group of children was already far ofif. The 
sachctte looked about for a passer-by of whom she might 
make inquiries. Close to her cell she caught sight of a priest 
making believe to study the public breviary, but who was 
much less taken up with the lattice-guarded volume than with 
the gibbet, towards which, ever and anon, he cast a savage, 
scowling glance. She recognised him as the reverend Arch- 
deacon of Josas, a saintly man. 

" Father," she asked, " who is to be hanged there? " 

The priest looked at her without replying. She repeated 
her question. 

" I do not know," he answered. 

" Some children passing said that it was an Egyptian 
woman," said the recluse. 

" I think it is," returned the priest. Paquette La Chante- 
fleurie broke into a hyena laugh. 

" Listen," said the Archdeacon, " it appears that you hate 
the gipsy women exceedingly ? " 

" Hate them ! " cried the recluse. " They are ghouls and 
stealers of children ! They devoured my little girl, my babe, 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

my only child ! I have no heart in my body — they have 
eaten it! " 

She was terrible. The priest regarded her coldly, 

" There is one that I hate above the rest," she went on, 
" and that I have cursed — a young one — about the age my 
child would be if this one's mother had not devoured her. 
Each time that this young viper passes my cell my blood 
boils ! " 

" Well, my sister, let your heart rejoice," said the priest, 
stony as a marble statue on a tomb, " for 'tis that one you 
will see die." 

His head fell upon his breast and he went slowly away. 

The recluse waved her arms with joy. " I foretold it to 
her that she would swing up there ! Priest, I thank thee ! " 
cried she, and she began pacing backw-ard and forward in 
front of her loophole with dishevelled locks and flaming eyes, 
striking her shoulder against the wall with the savage air of 
a caged wolf that has long been hungry and feels that the 
hour of its repast draws near. 



Phcebus, however, was not dead. Men of his sort are 
not so easily killed. When Maitre Philippe Lheulier, the 
King's advocate extraordinary, had said to poor Esmeralda: 
" He is dying,'' it w-as by mistake or jest. When the Arch- 
deacon said to the condemned girl, " He is dead ! " the fact 
is that he knew nothing about it; but he believed it to be 
true, he counted upon it, and hoped it earnestly. It would 
have been too much to expect that he should give the woman 
he loved good tidings of his rival. Any man would have done 
the same in his place. 

Not indeed that Phcebus's wound had not been serious, 
but it had been less so than the Archdeacon flattered himself. 
The leech, to whose house the soldiers of the watch had con- 


Three Various Hearts of Men 

veyed him in the first instance, had, for a week, feared for 
his Hfe, and, indeed, had told him so in Latin. But youth 
and a vigorous constitution had triumphed, and, as often hap- 
pens, notwithstanding prognostics and diagnostics. Nature 
had amused herself by saving the patient in spite of the 
physician. It was while he was still stretched upon a sick- 
bed that he underwent the first interrogations at the hands of 
Philippe Lheulier and the examiners of the Holy Office, 
which had annoyed him greatly. So, one fine morning, feel- 
ing himself recovered, he had left his gold spurs in payment 
to the man of drugs, and had taken himself off. For the rest, 
this had in no way impeded the course of justice. The law 
of that day had but few scruples about the clearness and pre- 
cision of the proceedings against a criminal. Provided the 
accused was finally hanged, that w^as sufficient. As it was, 
the judges had ample proof against Esmeralda. They held 
Phoebus to be dead, and that decided the matter. 

As to Phoebus, he had fled to no great distance. He had 
simply rejoined his company, then on garrison duty at Queue- 
en-Brie, in the province of lie de France, a few stages 
from Paris. 

After all, he had no great desire to appear in person at 
the trial. He had a vague impression that he would cut a 
somewhat ridiculous figure. Frankly, he did not quite know 
what to make of the wdiole affair. Irreligious, yet credulous 
like every soldier who is nothing but a soldier, when he 
examined the particulars of that adventure, he was not alto- 
gether without his suspicions as to the goat, as to the curi- 
ous circumstances of his first meeting with Esmeralda, as 
to the means, no less strange, by which she had betrayed 
the secret of her love, as to her being a gipsy, finally as 
to the spectre-monk. He discerned in all these incidents far 
more of magic than of love — probably a witch, most likely 
the devil ; in fine, a drama, or in the language of the day, a 
mystery — and a very disagreeable one — in which he had an 
extremely uncomfortable part : that of the person w'ho receives 
all the kicks and none of the applause. The captain was 
greatly put out by this; he felt that kind of shame which La 
Fontaine so admirably defines : 

" Ashamed as a fox would be, caught by a hen." 


Notre -Dame de Paris 

He hoped, however, that the affair would not be noised 
abroad, and that, he being absent, his name would hardly be 
mentioned in connection with it ; or, at any rate, would not 
be heard beyond the court-room of the Tournelle. And in 
this he judged aright — there was no Criminal Gazette in those 
days, and as hardly a week passed without some coiner being 
boiled alive, some witch hanged, or heretic sent to the stake 
at one or other of the numberless " justices " of Paris, people 
were so accustomed to see the old feudal Themis at every 
crossway, her arms bare and sleeves rolled up, busy with her 
pitchforks, her gibbets, and her pillories, that scarcely any 
notice was taken of her. The beau monde of that age hardly 
knew the name of the poor wretch passing at the corner of 
the street; at most, it was the populace that regaled itself on 
these gross viands. An execution was one of the ordinary 
incidents of the public way, like the brasier of the pie-man 
or the butcher's slaughter-house. The executioner was but 
a butcher, only a little more skilled than the other. 

Phoebus, therefore, very soon set his mind at rest on the 
subject of the enchantress Esmeralda, or Similar, as he called 
her, of the dagger-thrust he had received from the gipsy or 
the spectre-monk (it mattered little to him which), and the 
issue of the trial. But no sooner was his heart vacant on 
that score, than the image of Fleur-de-Lys returned to it — 
for the heart of Captain Phoebus, like Nature, abhorred a 

Moreover, Queue-en-Brie was not a diverting place — a 
village of farriers and herd-girls with rough hands, a strag- 
gling row of squalid huts and cabins bordering the high-road 
for half a league — in short, a world's end. 

Fleur-de-Lys was his last flame but one, a pretty girl, a 
charming dot; and so one fine morning, being quite cured 
of his wound, and fairly presuming that after the interval of 
two months the business of the gipsy girl must be over and 
forgotten, the amorous cavalier pranced up in high feather 
to the door of the ancestral mansion of the Gondelauriers. 
He paid no attention to a very numerous crowd collecting 
in the Place du Parvis before the great door of Notre-Dame. 
Remembering that it was the month of May, he concluded 
that it was some procession — some Whitsuntide or other festi- 


Three Various Hearts of Men 

val — tied his steed up to the ring at the porch, and gaily 
ascended the stair to his fair betrothed. 

He found her alone with her mother. 

On the heart of Fleur-de-Lys the scene of the gipsy with 
her goat and its accursed alphabet, combined with her lover's 
long absences, still weighed heavily. Nevertheless, when she. 
saw her captain enter, she found him so handsome in his 
brand-new doublet and shining baldrick, and wearing so 
impassioned an air, that she blushed with pleasure. The 
noble damsel herself was more charming than ever. Her 
magnificent golden tresses were braided to perfection, she was 
robed in that azure blue which so well becomes a blonde — a 
piece of coquetry she had learned from Colombe — and her 
eyes were swimming in that dewy languor which is still more 

Phoebus, who in the matter of beauty had been reduced 
to the country wenches of Oueue-en-Brie, was ravished by 
Fleur-de-Lys, which lent our officer so pressing and gallant 
an air that his peace was made forthwith. The Lady of 
Gondelaurier herself, still maternally seated in her great chair, 
had not the heart to scold him. As for Fleur-de-Lys, her 
reproaches died away in tender cooings. 

The young lady was seated near the window still engaged 
upon her grotto of Neptune. The captain leaned over the 
back of her seat, while she murmured her fond upbraid- 

" What have you been doing with yourself these two long 
months, unkind one ? " 

" I swear," answered Phoebus, somewhat embarrassed by 
this question, " that you are beautiful enough to make an 
archbishop dream." 

She could not repress a smile. 

" Go to — go to, sir. Leave the question of my beauty 
and answer me. Fine beauty, to be svire ! " 

" Well, dearest cousin, I was in garrison." 

" And where, if you please ? and why did you not come 
and bid me adieu ? " 

" At Queue-en-Brie." 

Phoebus was delighted that the first question had helped 
him to elude the second. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

" But that is quite near, monsieur ; how is it you never 
once came to see me ? " 

This was seriously embarrassing. 

" Because — well' — the service — and besides, charming 
cousin, I have been ill." 

" 111 ? " she exclaimed in alarm. 

" Yes — wounded." 

" Wounded ! " The poor girl was quite upset. 

" Oh, do not let that frighten you," said Phoebus carelessly ; 
" it was nothing. A quarrel — a mere scratch — what does it 
signify to you ? " 

" What does it signify to me ? " cried Fleur-de-Lys, lifting 
her beautiful eyes full of tears. " Oh, you cannot mean what 
you say. What was it all about — I will know." 

" Well, then, my fair one, I had some words with Mahe 
Fedy — you know — the lieutenant of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, 
and each of us ripped up a few inches of the other's skin — 
that is all." 

The inventive captain knew very well that an affair of 
honour always sets o& a man to advantage in a woman's eye. 
And sure enough, Fleur-de-Lys looked up into his fine face 
with mingled sensations of fear, pleasure, and admiration. 
However, she did not feel entirely reassured. 

" I only hope you are completely cured, my Phoebus ! " 
she said. " I am not acquainted with your Mahe Fedy ; but 
he must be an odious wretch. And what was this quarrel 

Here Phoebus, whose imagination was not particularly 
creative, began to be rather at a loss how to beat a con- 
venient retreat out of his encounter. 

" Oh, how should I know ? — a mere trifle — a horse — a 
hasty word! Fair cousin," said he, by way of changing the 
conversation, " what is all this going on in the Parvis ? " He 
went to the window. " Look, fair cousin, there is a great 
crowd in the Place." 

" I do not know," answered Fleur-de-Lys ; " it seems a 
witch is to do penance this morning before the church on her 
vray to the gallows." 

So entirely did the captain believe the afifair of Esmeralda 
to be terminated, that he took little heed of these words of 


Three Various Hearts of Men 

Fleur-de-Lys. Nevertheless, he asked a careless question 
or two. 

" Who is this witch ? " 

" I am sure I do not know." 

" And what is she said to have done ? " 

Again she shrugged her white shoulders. 

" I do not know." 

" Oh, by 'r Lord ! " exclaimed the mother, " there are so 
many sorceresses nowadays that they burn them, I dare swear, 
without knowing their names. As well might you try to 
know the name of every cloud in heaven. But, after all, we 
may make ourselves easy ; the good God keeps his register 
above." Here the venerable lady rose and approached the win- 
dow. " Lord," she cried, " you are right, Phoebus, there is in- 
deed a great concourse of the people — some of them even, God 
save us, on the very roofs ! Ah, Phoebus, that brings back to 
me my young days arwd the entry of Charles VII, when there 
were just such crowds — I mind not precisely in what year. 
When I speak of that to you it doubtless sounds like some- 
thing very old, but to me it is as fresh as to-day. Oh, it was 
a far finer crowd than this ! Some of them climbed up on to 
the battlements of the Porte Saint-Antoine. The King had the 
Queen on the crupper behind him ; and after their highnesses 
came all the ladies mounted behind their lords. I remember, 
too, there was much laughter because by the side of Amanyon 
de Garlande, who was very short, there came the Sire Mate- 
felon, a knight of gigantic stature, who had killed the English 
in heaps. It was very fine. Then followed a procession of 
all the nobles of France, with their oriflammes fluttering red 
before one. There were some with pennons aiid some with 
banners — let me think — the Sire de Calan had a pennon, 
Jean de Chateaumorant a banner, and a richer than any of 
the others except the Duke of Bourbon. Alas ! 'tis sad to 
think that all that has been, and that nothing of it now re- 
mains ! " 

The two young people were not listening to the worthy 
dowager. Phoebus had returned to lean over the back of his 
lady-love's chair — a charming post which revealed to his liber- 
tine glance so many exquisite things, and enabled him to 
divine so many more that, ravished by that satin-shimmering 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

skin, he said to himself, " How can one love anv but a 

Neither spoke. The girl lifted to him, from time to time, 
a glance full of tenderness and devotion, and their locks 
mingled in a ray of the vernal sunshine. 

" Phoebus," said Fleur-de-Lys suddenly, in a half-whisper, 
" we are to marry in three months — swear to me that you 
have never loved any woman but myself." 

" I swear it, fairest angel ! " returned Phoebus ; and his 
passionate glance combined with the sincere tone of his voice 
to convince Fleur-de-Lys of the truth of his assertion. And, 
who knows, perhaps he believed it himself at the moment. 

Meanwhile the good mother, rejoiced to see the two young 
people in such perfect accord, had left the apartment to attend 
to some domestic matter. Phoebus was aware of the fact, and 
this solitude a deux so emboldened the enterprising captain 
that some strange ideas began to arise in his mind. Flem-- 
de-Lys loved him — he was betrothed to her — she was alone 
with him — his old inclination for her had revived — not per- 
haps in all its primitive freshness, but certainly in all its ardour 
— after all, it was no great crime to cut a little of one's own 
corn in the blade. I know not if these thoughts passed 
distinctly through his mind ; but at any rate, Fleur-de-Lys 
suddenly took alarm at the expression of his countenance. 
She looked about her and discovered that her mother was 

" Heavens ! " said she, blushing and uneasy, " I am very 

" I think, indeed," replied Phoebus, " that it cannot be 
far from noon. The sun is oppressive — the best remedy 
is to draw the curtain." 

" No, no ! " cried the girl ; " on the contrary, it is air 
I need." 

And like the doe which scents the hounds, she started up, 
ran to the window, flung it wide, and took refuge on the 
balcony. Phoebus, not overpleased, followed her. 

The Place de Parvis of Notre-Dame, upon which, as the 
reader is aware, the balcony looked down, presented at that 
moment a sinister and unusual appearance, which forthwith 
changed the nature of the timid damoiselle's alarm. 


Three Various Hearts of Men 

An immense crowd, extending into all the adjacent streets, 
filled the whole square. The breast-high wall surrounding the 
Parvis itself would not have sufficed alone to keep it clear ; but 
it was lined by a close hedge of sergeants of the town-guard 
and arquebusiers, culverin in hand. Thanks to this grove of 
pikes and arquebuses the Parvis was empty. The entrance to 
it was guarded by a body of the bishop's halberdiers. The great 
doors of the church were closed, forming a strong contrast to 
the innumerable windows round the Place, which, open up to 
the very gables, showed hundreds of heads piled one above 
another like the cannon-balls in an artillery ground. The pre- 
vailing aspect of this multitude was gray, dirty, repulsive. 
The spectacle they were awaiting was evidently one that has 
the distinction of calling forth all that is most bestial and 
unclean in the populace — impossible to imagine anything 
more repulsive than the sounds which arose from this seething 
mass of yellow caps and frowzy heads, and there were fewer 
shouts than shrill bursts of laughter — more women than men. 

From time to time some strident voice pierced the gen- 
eral hum. 

" Hi there! Mahiet Baliffre ! will they hang her here?" 

" Simpleton, this is the penance in her shift — the Almighty 
is going to cough a little Latin in her face ! That is always 
done here at noon. If 'tis the gallows you want, you must 
■go to the Greve." 

" I'll go there afterward." 

" Tell me, La Boucanbry, is it true that she refused to 
have a confessor ? " 

" So they say, La Bechaigne." 

"Did you ever see such a heathen?" 

• ••••••• 

" Sir, 'tis the custom here. The justiciary of the Palais 
is bound to deliver up the malefactor, ready sentenced for 
execution — if a layman, to the Provost of Paris; if a cleric, 
to the official court of the bishopric." 

" Sir, I thank you." 

" Oh, mon Dieu! " said Fleur-de-Lys, " the poor creature [ " 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

And this thought tinged with sadness the look she cast over 
the crowd. The captain, much more interested in her than 
in this dirty rabble, had laid an amorous hand upon her waist. 
She turned round with a smile half of pleasure, half of entreaty. 

" Prithee, Phoebus, let be ! If my mother entered and 
saw your hand " 

At this moment the hour of noon boomed slowly from the 
great clock of Notre-Dame. A murmur of satisfaction burst 
from the crowd. The last vibration of the twelfth stroke had 
hardly died away before all the heads were set in one direc- 
tion, like waves before a sudden gust of wind, and a great 
shout went up from the square, the windows, the roofs : 
" Here she comes ! " 

Fleur-de-Lys clasped her hands over her eyes that she 
might not see. 

" Sweetheart," Phoebus hastened to sa}* " shall we go in ? " 

" No," she returned, and the eyes that she had just closed 
from fear she opened again from curiosity. 

A tumbrel drawn by a strong Normandy draught-horse, 
and closely surrounded by horsemen in violet livery with 
white crosses, had just entered the Place from the Rue Saint- 
Pierre aux BcEufs. The sergeants of the watch opened a way 
for it through the people by vigorous use of their thonged 
scourges. Beside the tumbrel rode a few ofificers of justice 
and the police, distinguishable by their black garments and 
their awkwardness in the saddle. Maitre Jacques Charmolue 
figured at their head. 

In the fatal cart a girl was seated, her hands tied behind 
her, but no priest by her side. She was in her shift, and her 
long black hair (it was the custom then not to cut it till reach- 
ing the foot of the gibbet) fell unbound about her neck and 
over her half-naked shoulders. 

Through these waving locks — more lustrous than the 
raven's wing — you caught a glimpse of a great rough brown 
rope, writhing and twisting, chafing the girl's delicate shoul- 
der-blades, and coiled about her fragile neck like an earth- 
worm round a flower. Below this rope glittered a small amu- 
let adorned with green glass, which, doubtless, she had been 
allowed to retain, because nothing is refused to those about 
to die. The spectators raised above her at the windows 


Three Various Hearts of Men 

could see her bare legs as she sat in the tumbrel, and which 
she strove to conceal as if from a last remaining instinct of 
her sex. At her feet lay a little goat, also strictly bound. 
The criminal was holding her ill-fastened shift together with 
her teeth. It looked as though, despite her extreme misery, 
she was still conscious of the indignity of being thus exposed 
half-naked before all eyes. Alas ! it is not for such frightful 
trials as this that feminine modesty was made. 

" Holy Saviour ! " cried Fleur-de-Lys excitedly to the cap- 
tain. " Look, cousin ! if it is not your vile gipsy girl with 
the goat ! " 

She turned round to Phoebus. His eyes were fixed on 
the tumbrel. He was very pale. 

" What gipsy girl with a goat ? " he faltered. 

" How," returned Fleur-de-Lys, " do you not remember? " 

Phoebus did not let her finish. " I do not know what 
you mean." 

He made one step to re-enter the room, but Fleur-de-Lys, 
whose jealousy lately so vehement was now reawakened by 
the sight of the detested gipsy — Fleur-de-Lys stopped him 
by a glance full of penetration and mistrust. She recollected 
vaguely having heard something of an oflfiicer whose name 
had been connected wnth the trial of this sorceress. 

" What ails you ? " said she to Phoebus ; " one would think 
that the sight of this woman disconcerted you." 

Phoebus forced a laugh. " Me ? Not the least in the 
world ! Oh, far from it ! " 

" Then stay," she returned imperiously, " and let us see 
it out." 

So there was nothing for the unlucky captain but to 
remain. However, it reassured him somewhat to see that 
the criminal kept her eyes fixed on the bottom of the tum- 
brel. It was but too truly Esmeralda. In this last stage 
of ignominy and misfortune, she was still beautiful — her great 
dark eyes looked larger from the hollowing of her cheeks, 
her pale profile was pure and unearthly. She resembled her 
former self as a Virgin of Masaccio resembles one of Raphael's 
— frailer, more pinched, more attenuated. 

For the rest, there was nothing in her whole being that 
did not seem to be shaken to its foundations ; and, except for 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

her last poor attempt at modesty, she abandoned herself com- 
pletely to chance, so thoroughly had iier spirit been broken 
by torture and despair. Her body swayed with every jolt of 
the tumbrel like something dead or disjointed. Her gaze 
was blank and distraught, A tear hung in her eye, but it 
was stationary and as if frozen there. 

Meanwhile the dismal cavalcade had traversed the crowd 
amid yells of joy and the struggles of the curious. Never- 
theless, in strict justice be it said, that on seeing her so 
beautiful and so crushed by affliction, many, even the most 
hard-hearted, were moved to pity. 

The tumbrel now entered the Parvis and stopped in front 
of the great door. The escort drew up in line on either side. 
Silence fell upon the crowd, and amid that silence, surcharged 
with solemnity and anxious anticipation, the two halves of 
the great door opened apparently of themselves on their creak- 
ing hinges and 'disclosed the shadowy depths of the sombre 
church in its whole extent, hung with black, dimly lighted 
by a few tapers glimmering in the far distance on the high 
altar, and looking like a black and yawning cavern in the 
midst of the sunlit Place. At the far end, in the gloom of 
the chancel, a gigantic cross of silver was dimly visible against 
a black drapery that fell from the roof to the floor. The nave 
was perfectly empty, but the heads of a few priests could be 
seen stirring vaguely in the distant choir-stalls, and as the 
great door opened, there rolled from the church a solemn, 
far-reaching, monotonous chant, hurling at the devoted head 
of the criminal fragments of the penitential psalms : 

" Non tinicbo millia populi circumdantis me. Ex surge, Do- 
mine; salvum me fac. Dens I 

" Salvum me fac, Dens, quoniam intraverunt aquce usque ad 
animam meam. 

" Iniixus sum in limo profundi; et non est substantia." 

At the same time an isolated voice, not in the choir, 
intoned from the step of the high altar this impressive 
offertory : 

" Qui verhum meum audit, ct credit ei qui misit me, habet 
vitam (cternam et in judicium non venit; sed transit a tnorte 
in vitam.'' 

This chant intoned by a few old men lost in the gloom of 


Three Various Hearts of Men 

the church, and directed at this beautiful creature full of youth 
and life, wooed by the balmy air of spring, and bathed in 
sunshine, was the mass for the dead. 

The multitude listened with pious attention. 

The hapless, terrified girl seemed to lose all sight and 
consciousness in this view into the dark bowels of the church. 
Her white lips moved as if she prayed, and when the hang- 
man's assistant advanced to help her down from the tumbrel, 
he heard a low murmur from her — " Phoebus ! " 

They untied her hands and made her descend from the 
cart, accompanied by her goat, which they had also unbound, 
and which bleated with delight at finding itself free. She 
was then made to walk barefoot over the rough pavement to 
the bottom of the flight of steps leading up to the door. The 
rope she had round her neck trailed after her like a serpent 
in pursuit. 

The chant ceased inside the church. A great cross of 
gold and a file of wax tapers set themselves in motion in 
the gloom. The halberds of the bishop's guard clanked, and 
a few moments later a long procession of priests in their 
chasubles and deacons in their dalmatics advancing, solemnly 
chanting, towards the penitent, came into her view^ and that 
of the crowd. But her eye was arrested by the one who led 
the procession, immediately behind the cross-bearer. 

" Oh," she murmured with a shudder, " 'tis he again — 
the priest ! " 

It was the Archdeacon. On his left walked the sub- 
chanter, on his right the precentor, armed with his wand of 
office. He advanced with head thrown back, his eyes fixed 
and wide, chanting with a loud voice : 

" De ventre inferi clamavi, et exandisti vocem meam. 

" Et projecisti me in profundiim corde maris, et flnmen cir- 
cnmdedit me." 

As he came into the broad daylight under the high Gothic 
doorway, enveloped in a wide silver cope barred with a black 
cross, he was so pale, that more than one among the crowd 
thought that it was one of the marble bishops oflf some tomb 
in the choir come to receive on the threshold of the grave her 
who was about to die. 

No less pale and marble than himself, she was scarcely^ 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

aware that they had thrust a heavy lighted taper of yellow 
wax into her hand ; she did not listen to the raucous voice 
of the clerk as he read out the terrible wording of the penance ; 
when she was bidden to answer Amen, she answered Amen. 

The first thing that brought back to her any life and 
strength was seeing the priest sign to his followers to retire, 
and he advanced alone towards her. Then, indeed, she fdt 
the blood rush boiling to her head, and a last remaining spark 
of indignation flamed up in that numbed and frozen spirit. 

The Archdeacon approached her slowly. Even in her dire 
extremity, she saw his lustful eye wander in jealousy and 
desire over her half-nude form. Then he said to her in a 
loud voice : 

" Girl, have you asked pardon of God for your sins and 
offences ?" He bent over her and whispered (the spectators 
supposing that he was receiving her last confession) : " Wilt 
thou be mine ? I can save thee yet ! " 

She regarded him steadfastly : " Begone, devil, or I will 
denounce thee ! " 

A baleful smile curled his lips, " They would not believe 
thee. Thou wouldst but be adding a scandal to a crime. 
Answer quickly ! Wilt thou be mine ? " 

" What hast thou done with my Phoebus ? " 

" He is dead," said the priest. 

At that moment the miserable Archdeacon raised his eyes 
mechanically, and there, at the opposite side of the Place, on 
the balcony of the Gondelaurier's house, was the captain him- 
self, standing by the side of Fleur-de-Lys. He staggered, 
passed his hand over his eyes, looked again, murmured a 
curse, and every feature became distorted with rage. 

" Then die thou too ! " he muttered between his teeth. 
" No one shall have thee ! " Then lifting his hand over the 
gipsy girl, he cried in a sepulchral voice : " I nunc, anima 
anceps, et sit tibi Dens misericors! " 

This was the awful formula with which it was customary 
to close this lugubrious ceremonial. It was the accepted 
signal from the priest to the executioner. 

The people fell upon their knees. 

" Kyrie eleison!" said the priests standing under the 
arched doorway. 


Three Various Hearts of Men 

" Kyric elcison!" repeated the multitude in that murmur 
that runs over a sea of heads hke the splashing of stormy 

" Amen," responded the Archdeacon. And he turned his 
back upon the doomed girl, his head fell on his breast, he 
crossed his hands, rejoined his train of priests, and vanished 
a moment afterward with the cross, the tapers and the copes 
under the dim arches of the cathedral, and his sonorous voice 
gradually died away in the choir chanting this cry of human 
despair : 

" Onines gurgites tut ct Uncttis tiii super me transierimt! " 

The intermittent clank of the butt-ends of the guards' 
pikes growang fainter by degrees in the distance, sounded 
like the hammer of a clock striking the last hour of the 

All this time the doors of Notre-Dame had remained 
wide open, affording a view of the interior of the church, 
empty, desolate, draped in black, voiceless, its lights extin- 

The condemned girl remained motionless on the spot 
where they had placed her, awaiting what they would do 
with her. One of the sergeants had to inform Maitre Char- 
molue that matters had reached this point, as during the fore- 
going scene he had been wholly occupied in studying the 
bas-relief of the great doorway, which, according to some, 
represents Abraham's sacrifice, and according to others, the 
great alchemistic operation — the sun being figured by the 
angel, the fire by the fagot, and the operator by Abraham. 

They had much ado to draw him away from this con- 
templation; but at last he turned round, and at a sign from 
him, two men in yellow, the executioner's assistants, ap- 
proached the gipsy to tie her hands again. 

At the moment of reascending the fatal cart and moving 
on towards her final scene, the hapless girl was seized perhaps 
by some last heart-rending desire for life. She raised her dry 
and burning eyes to heaven, to the sun, to the silvery clouds 
intermingling with patches of brilliant blue, then she cast 
them around her, upon the ground, the people, the houses. 
Suddenly, while the man in yellow was pinioning her arms, 
she uttered a piercing cry — a cry of joy. On the balcony at 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

the corner of the Place she had descried him — her love — her 
lord — her life — Phoebus ! 

The judge had lied, the priest had lied — it was he indeed, 
she could not doubt it — he stood there alive and handsome, in 
his brilliant uniform, a plume on his head, a sword at his side. 

" Phoebus ! " she cried, " my Phoebus ! " and she tried to 
stretch out her arms to him, but they were bound. 

Then she saw that the captain frowned, that a beautiful 
girl who was leaning upon his arm looked at him with scornful 
lips and angry eyes ; whereupon Phoebus said some words 
which did not reach her ear, and they both hastily disappeared 
through the casement of the balcony, which immediately 
closed behind them. 

" Phoebus ! " she cried wildly, " can it be that thou be- 
lievest it?" 

A monstrous thought had just suggested itself to her — she 
remembered that she had been condemned for murder com- 
mitted on the person of Phoebus de Chateaupers. 

She had borne all till now, but this last blow was too heavy. 
She fell senseless to the ground. 

" Come," said Charmolue impatiently, " lift her into the 
cart, and let us be done with it." 

No one had yet remarked in the gallery of royal statues 
immediately over the arches of the doorway a strange spec- 
tator, who, until then, had observed all that passed with such 
absolute immobility, a neck so intently stretched, a face so 
distorted, that, but for his habiliments — half red, half violet — 
he might have been taken for one of the stone gargoyles 
through whose mouths the long rain-pipes of the Cathedral 
have emptied themselves for six hundred years. This spec- 
tator had lost no smallest detail of all that had taken place 
before the entrance to Notre-Dame since the hour of noon. 
At the very beginning, no one paying the least attention to 
him, he had firmly attached to one of the small columns of 
the gallery a stout knotted rope, the other end of which 
reached to the ground. This done, he had settled himself to 
quietly look on, only whistling from time to time as a black- 
bird flew past him. 

Now, at the moment when the executioner's assistants 
were preparing to carry out Charmolue's phlegmatic order, 


Three Various Hearts of Men 

he threw his leg over the balustrade of the gallery, seized 
the rope with his hands, his knees and his feet, and proceeded 
to slide down the face of the Cathedral like a drop of water 
down a window-pane; ran at the two men with the speed of 
a cat just dropped from a house-top, knocked the pair down 
with two terrific blows of his fist, picked up the gipsy in 
one hand as a child would a doll, and with one bound was 
inside the church, holding the girl high above his head as 
he shouted in a voice of thunder : 

" Sanctuary ! " 

This was all accomplished with such rapidity, that had it 
been night the whole scene might have passed by the glare 
of a single flash of lightning. 

" Sanctuary ! Sanctuary ! " roared the crowd, and the clap- 
ping of ten thousand hands made Quasimodo's single eye 
sparkle with joy and pride. 

This shock brought the girl to her senses. She opened 
her eyes, looked at Quasimodo, then closed them suddenly 
as if in terror at the sight of her deliverer. 

Charmolue stood dumfounded, and the executioners and 
the whole escort with him ; for once within the walls of Notre- 
Dame the criminal was inviolable. The Cathedral was a place 
of sanctuary ; all human justice was powerless beyond the 

Quasimodo had halted within the central doorway. His 
broad feet seemed to rest as solidly on the floor of the church 
as the heavy Roman pillars themselves. His great shock 
head was sunk between his shoulders like that of a lion, which 
likewise has a mane but no neck. The trembling girl hung 
in his horny hands like a white drapery ; but he held her with 
anxious care, as if fearful of breaking or brushing the bloom 
ofif her — as if he felt that she was something delicate and 
exquisite and precious, and made for other hands than his. 
At moments he seemed hardly to dare to touch her, even 
with his breath ; then again he would strain her tightly to his 
bony breast as if she were his only possession, his treasure — 
as the mother of this child would have done. His cyclops eye, 
bent upon her, enveloped her in a flood of tenderness, of grief, 
and pity, and then rose flashing with determined courage. 
Women laughed and cried, the crowd stamped with enthusi- 

Q 351 Vol.4 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

asm, for at this moment Quasimodo had a beauty of his own. 
Verily, this orphan, this foundhng, this outcast, was wonderful 
to look upon : he felt himself august in his strength ; he looked 
that society from which he was banished, and against whose 
plans he had so forcefully intervened, squarely in the face ; 
he boldly defied that human justice from which he had just 
snatched its prey, all these tigers now forced to gnash their 
empty jaws, these myrmidons of the law, these judges, these 
executioners — this whole force of the King which he, the 
meanest of his subjects, had set at naught by the force of God. 

Then, too, how affecting was this protection oflfered by 
a creature so misshapen to one so unfortunate — a girl con- 
demned to death, saved by Quasimodo ! — the extremes of 
physical and social wretchedness meeting and assisting one 

Meanwhile, after tasting his triumph for a few brief mo- 
ments, Quasimodo suddenly plunged with his burden into 
the church. The people, ever delighted at a display of prow- 
ess, followed him with their eyes through the dim nave, only 
regretting that he had so quickly withdrawn himself from 
their acclamations. Suddenly he reappeared at one end of 
the gallery of royal statues, which he traversed, running like 
a madman, lifting his booty high in his arms and shouting 
" Sanctuary ! " The plaudits of the crowd burst forth anew. 
Having dashed along the gallery, he vanished again into the 
interior of the Cathedral, and a moment afterward reappeared 
on the upper platform, still bearing the Egyptian in his arms, 
still running madly, still shouting " Sanctuary ! " and the 
multitude still applauding. At last he made his third appear- 
ance on the summit of the tower of the great bell, from 
whence he seemed to show exultingly to the whole city the 
woman he had rescued, and his thundering voice — that voice 
\vhich was heard so seldom, and never by him at all, repeated 
thrice with frenzied vehemence, even into the very clouds : 
" Sanctuary ! Sanctuary ! Sanctuary ! " 

" Noel ! Noel ! " roared the people in return, till the im- 
mense volume of acclamation resounded upon the opposite 
shore of the river to the astonishment of the crowd assembled 
in the Place de Greve, and among them the recluse, whose 
hungry eye was still fixed upon the gibbet. 





Claude Frollo was no longer in Notre-Dame when his 
adopted son so abruptly cut the fatal noose in which the 
unhappy Archdeacon had caught the Egyptian and himself at 
the same time. On entering the sacristy, he had torn off alb, 
cope, and stole, had tossed them into the hands of the amazed 
verger, escaped by the private door of the cloister, ordered 
a wherryman of the " Terrain " to put him across to the left 
bank of the Seine, and had plunged into the steep streets of 
the University, knowing not whither he went, meeting at 
every step bands of men and women pressing excitedly 
towards the Pont Saint-Michel in the hope of " still arriving 
in time " to see the witch hanged — pale, distraught, confused, 
more blinded and scared than any bird of night set free and 
flying before a troop of children in broad daylight. He was 
no longer conscious of where he was going, what were his 
thoughts, his imaginations. He went blindly on, walking, 
running, taking the streets at random, without any definite 
plan, save the one thought of getting away from the Greve, 
the horrible Greve, which he felt confusedly to be behind 

In this manner he proceeded the whole length of the Mon- 
tague Sainte-Genevieve, and at last left the town by the Porte 
Saint- Victor. He continued his flight so long as he could 
see, on turning round, the bastioned walls of the University, 
and the sparse houses of the faubourg; but when at last a 
ridge of rising ground completely hid hateful Paris from his 
view — when he could imagine himself a hundred leagues 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

away from it, in the country, in a desert — he stopped and 
dared to draw a free breath. 

Frightful thoughts now crowded into his mind. He saw 
clearly into his soul and shuddered. He thought of the 
unfortunate girl he had ruined and who had ruined him. 
He let his haggard eye pursue the tortuous paths along 
which Fate had driven them to their separate destinies up to 
the point of junction where she had pitilessly shattered them 
one against the other. He thought of the folly of lifelong 
vows, of the futility of chastity, science, religion, and virtue, 
of the impotence of God. He pursued these arguments with 
wicked gusto, and the deeper he sank in the slough the 
louder laughed the Satan within him. And discovering, as 
he burrowed thus into his soul, how large a portion Nature 
had assigned in it to the passions, he smiled more sardonically 
than before. He shook up from the hidden depths of his 
heart all his hatred, all his wickedness ; and he discovered 
with the calm eye of the physician examining a patient that 
this same hatred and wickedness were but the outcome of 
perverted love — that love, the source of every human virtue, 
turned to things unspeakable in the heart of a priest, and that 
a man constituted as he was, by becoming a priest, made of 
himself a demon — and he laughed horribly. But suddenly 
he grew pale again as he contemplated the worst side of 
his fatal passion — of that corrosive, venomous, malignant, 
implacable love which had brought the one to the gallows 
and the other to hell — her to death, him to damnation. 

And then his laugh came again when he remembered that 
Phoebus was living ; that, after all, the captain was alive and 
gay and happy, with a finer uniform than ever, and a new 
mistress whom he brought to see the old one hanged. And 
he jeered sardonically at himself to think that of all the human 
beings whose death he had desired, the Egyptian, the one 
creature he did not hate, was the only one he had succeeded 
in destroying. 

From the captain, his thoughts wandered to the crowd 
of that morning, and he was seized with a fresh kind of jeal- 
ousy. He reflected that the people, the whole population, hatl 
beheld the woman he loved — divested of all but a single gar- 
ment — almost nude. He wrung his hands in agony at the 



thoug-ht that the woman, a mere g-limpse of whose form veiled 
in shadows and seen by his eye alone would have afforded him 
the supreme measure of bliss, had been given thus, in broad 
daylight, at high noon, to the gaze of a whole multitude, 
clad as for a bridal night. He wept with rage over all these 
mysteries of love profaned, sullied, stripped, withered forever. 
He wept with rage to think how many impure eyes that ill- 
fastened garment had satisfied ; that this fair creature, this 
virgin lily, this cup of pu\'ity and all delights to which he 
would only have set his lips in fear and trembling, had been 
converted into a public trough, as it were, at which the vilest 
of the populace of Paris, the thieves, the beggars, the lackeys, 
had come to drink in common of a pleasure — shameless, 
obscene, depraved. 

Again, when he sought to picture to himself the happiness 
that might have been his had she not been a gipsy and he 
a priest ; had Phoebus not existed, and had she but loved him ; 
when he told himself that a life of serenity and love would 
have been possible to him too ; that at that very moment there 
were happy couples to be found here and there on earth, 
whiling away the hours in sweet communings, in orange 
groves, by the brook-side, under the setting sun or a starry 
night; and that had God so willed it, he might have made 
with her one of those thrice-blessed couples, his heart melted 
in tenderness and despair. 

Oh, it was she ! still and forever she ! — that fixed idea that 
haunted him incessantly, that tortured him, gnawed his brain, 
wrung his very vitals ! He regretted nothing, he repented 
of nothing ; all that he had done he was ready to do again ; 
better a thousand times see her in the hands of the hangman 
than the arms of the soldier; but he suffered, he suffered so 
madly that there were moments when he tore his hair in 
handfuls from his head to see if it had not turned white. 

At one moment it occurred to him that this, perhaps, was 
the very minute at which the hideous chain he had seen in 
the morning was tightening its noose of iron round that 
fragile and slender neck. Great drops of agony burst from 
every pore at the thought. 

At another moment he took a diabolical pleasure in tor- 
turing himself by bringing before his mind's eye a simultane- 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

ous picture of Esmeralda as he had seen her for the first 
time — filled with life and careless joy, gaily attired, dancing, 
airy, melodious — and Esmeralda at her last hour, in her shift, 
a rope about her neck, slowly ascending with her naked feet 
the painful steps of the gibbet. He brought this double 
picture so vividly before him that a terrible cry burst from 

While thisjiurricane-oliiesgair was upheaving, shattering, 
tearing, bending, uprooting even-thing within his soul, he 
gazed absently at the prospect around him. Some fowls were 
busily pecking and scratching at his feet ; bright-coloured 
beetles ran to and fro in the sunshine ; overhead, groups of 
dappled cloud sailed in a deep-blue sky ; on the horizon the 
spire of the Abbey of Saint-\"ictor reared its slate obelisk 
above the rising ground ; and the miller of the Butte-Copeaux 
whistled as he watched the busily turning sails of his mill. 
All this industrious, orderly, tranquil activity, recurring 
around him under a thousand different aspects, hurt him. 
He turned to flee once more. 

He wandered thus about the country till the evening. 
This fleeing from Nature, from life, from himself, from man- 
kind, from God, went on through the whole day. Now he 
would throw himself face downward on the ground, digging 
up the young blades of corn with his nails ; or he would stand 
still in the middle of some deserted village street, his thoughts 
so insupportable that he would seize his head in both hands as 
if to tear it from his shoulders and dash it on the stones. 

Towards the hour of sunset, he took counsel with himself 
and found that he was well-nigh mad. The storm that had 
raged in him since the moment that he lost both the hope 
and the desire to save the gipsy, had left him without one 
sane idea, one rational thought. His reason lay prostrate on 
the verge of utter destruction. But two distinct images re- 
mained in his mind : Esmeralda and the gibbet. The rest 
was darkness. These two images in conjunction formed to 
his mind a ghastly group, and the more strenuously he fixed 
upon them such power of attention and thought as remained 
to him, the more he saw them increase according to a fantastic 
progression — the one in grace, in charm, in beauty, in lustre ; 
the other in horror; till, at last, Esmeralda appeared to him 



as a star, and the gibbet as a huge fleshless arm. Strange to 
say, during all this torture he never seriously thought of 
death. Thus was the wretched man constituted ; he clung to 
life — may-be, indeed, he saw hell in the background. 

Meanwhile night was coming on apace. The living crea- 
ture still existing within him began confusedly to think of 
return. He imagined himself far from Paris, but on looking 
about him he discovered that he had but been travelling in 
a circle round the University. The spire of Saint-Sulpice 
and the three lofty pinnacles of Saint-Germain-des-Pres broke 
the sky-line on his right. He bent his steps in that direction. 
When he heard the " Qui vivc? " of the Abbot's guard round 
the battlemented walls of Saint-Germain, he turned aside, 
took a path lying before him between the abbey mill and 
the lazaretto, and found himself in a few minutes on- the 
edge of the Pre-aux-Clercs — the Students' Meadow. This 
ground was notorious for the brawls and tumults which went 
on in it day and night ; it was a " hydra " to the poor monks 
of Saint-Germain — Quod monachis Sancti Germani pratensis 
hydra fuif, clcricis nova semper dissidionum capita suscitantibus.^ 
The Archdeacon feared meeting some one there, he dreaded 
the sight of a human face; he would not enter the streets till 
the latest moment possible. He therefore skirted the Pre- 
aux-Clercs, took the solitary path that lay between it and the 
Dieu-Neuf, and at length reached the water-side. There Dom 
Claude found a boatman, who for a few deniers took him up 
the river as far as the extreme point of the island of the 
City, and landed him on that deserted tongue of land on which 
the reader has already seen Gringoire immersed in reverie, 
and which extended beyond the royal gardens parallel to the 
island of the cattle-ferry. 

The monotonous rocking of the boat and the ripple of the 
water in some degree soothed the unhappy man. When the 
boatman had taken his departure, Claude remained on the 
bank in a kind of stupor, looking straight before him and 
seeing the surrounding objects only through a distorting mist 
which converted the whole scene into a kind of phantasma- 

* Because to the monks of Saint-Germain this meadow was a hydra 
ever raising its head anew in the brawls of the clerks. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

goria. The exhaustion of a violent grief will often produce 
this eflfect upon the mind. 

The sun had set behind the lofty Tour-de-Nesle. It was 
the hour of twilight. The sky w^as pallid, the river was white. 
Between these two pale surfaces, the left bank of the Seine, 
on which his eyes were fixed, reared its dark mass, and, dwin- 
dling to a point in the perspective, pierced the mists of the 
horizon like a black arrow. It was covered with houses, their 
dim silhouettes standing out sharply against the pale back- 
ground of sky and river. Here and there windows began to 
twinkle like holes in a brasier. The huge black obelisk thus 
isolated between the tv/o white expanses of sky and river — 
particularly wide at this point — made a singular impression 
on Dom Claude, such as a man would experience lying on 
his back at the foot of Strassburg Cathedral and gazing up at 
the immense spire piercing the dim twilight of the sky above 
his head. Only here it was Claude who stood erect and the 
spire that lay at his feet ; but as the river, by reflecting the 
sky, deepened infinitely the abyss beneath him, the vast 
promontory seemed springing as boldly into the void as any 
cathedral spire. The impression on him was therefore the 
same, and moreover, in this respect, stronger and more pro- 
fotmd, in that not only was it the spire of Strassburg Cathe- 
dral, but a spire two leagues high — something unexampled, 
gigantic, immeasurable — an edifice such as mortal eye had 
never yet beheld — a Tower of Babel. The chimneys of the 
houses, the battlemented walls, the carved roofs and gables, 
the spire of the Augustines, the Tour-de-Nesle, all the pro- 
jections that broke the hne of the colossal obelisk heightened 
the illusion by their bizarre effect, presenting to the eye all 
the effect of a florid and fantastic sculpture. 

In this condition of hallucination Claude was persuaded 
that with living eye he beheld the veritable steeple of hell. 
The myriad lights scattered over the entire height of the 
fearsome tower were to him so many openings into the in- 
fernal fires — the voices and sounds which rose from it the 
shrieks and groans of the damned. Fear fell upon him, he 
clapped his hands to his ears that h^ might hear no more, 
turned his back that he might not see, and with long strides 
fled away from the frightful vision. 



But the vision was within him. 

When he came into the streets again, the people passing" 
to and fro in the Hght of the shop-fronts appeared to him 
hke a moving company of spectres round about him. There 
were strange roarings in his ears — wild imaginings disturbed 
his brain. He saw not the houses, nor road, nor vehicles, 
neither men nor women, but a chaos of indeterminate objects 
merging into one another at their point of contact. At the 
corner of the Rue de la Barillerie he passed a chandler's shop, 
over the front of which hung, according to immemorial cus- 
tom, a row of tin hoops garnished with wooden candles, which 
swayed in the wind and clashed together like castanets. He 
seemed to hear the skeletons on the gibbets of Montfaucon 
rattling their bones together. 

" Oh," he muttered, " the night wind drives them one 
against another, and mingles the clank of their chains with 
the rattle of their bones ! May-be she is there among them ! " 

Confused and bewildered, he knew not where he went. A 
few steps farther on he found himself on the Pont Saint- 
Michel. There was a light in a low window close by : he 
approached it. Through the cracked panes he saw into a 
dirty room which awakened some dim recollection in his mind. 
By the feeble rays of a squalid lamp he discerned a young 
man, with a fair and joyous face, who with much boisterous 
laughter was embracing a tawdry, shamelessly dressed girl. 
Beside the lamp sat an old woman spinning and singing in 
a quavering voice. In the pauses of the young man's laughter 
the priest caught fragments of the old woman's song. It was 
weird and horrible : 

" Growl, Greve ! bark, Greve ! 
Spin, spin, my distaff brave ! 
Let the hangman have his cord 
That whistles in the prison yard, 
Growl, Greve ! bark, Greve ! 

" Hemp that makes the pretty rope, 
Sow it widely, give it scope ; 
Better hemp than wheaten sheaves; 
Thief there's none that ever thieves 
The pretty rope, the hempen rope. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

" Growl, Greve ! bark, Greve ! 
To see the girl of pleasure brave 
Dangling on the gibbet high, 
Every window is an eye. 
Growl, Gr^ve ! bark, Greve ! " 

And the young man laughed and fondled the girl all the 
while. The old woman was La Falourdel, the girl was a cour- 
tesan of the town, and the 3'Oung man was his brother Jehan. 

He continued to look on at the scene — as well see this 
as any other. 

He saw Jehan go to a window at the back of the room, 
open it, glance across at the quay where a thousand lighted 
windows twinkled, and then heard him say as he closed 
the window : 

" As I live, it is night already ! The townsfolk are lighting 
their candles, and God Almighty his stars." 

Jehan returned to his light o' love, and smashing a bottle 
that stood on a table, he exclaimed : " Empty, cor-boeuf! — 
and I've no money! Isabeau, my chuck, I shall never be 
satisfied with Jupiter till he has turned your two white breasts 
into two black bottles, that I may suck Beaune wine from 
them day and night ! " 

With this delicate pleasantry, which made the courtesan 
laugh, Jehan left the house. 

Dom Claude had barely time to throw himself on the 
ground to escape meeting his brother face to face and being 
recognised. Happily the street was dark and the scholar 
drunk. Nevertheless he did notice the figure lying prone 
in the mud. 

" Oh ! oh ! " said he, " here's somebody has had a merry 
time of it to-day ! " 

He gave Dom Claude a push with his foot, while the older 
man held his breath with fear. 

" Dead drunk ! " exclaimed Jehan. " Bravo, he is full. A 
veritable leech dropped ofif a wine cask — and bald into the 
bargain," he added as he stooped. " 'Tis an old man ! For- 
tunate senex!" 

" For all that," Dom Claude heard him say as he continued 
his way, " wisdom is a grand thing, and my brother the Arch- 
deacon is a lucky man to be w^ise and always have money ! " 




The Archdeacon then rose and hastened at the top of his 
speed towards Notre-Dame, the huge towers of which he 
could see rising through the gloom above the houses. 

But when he reached the Parvis, breathless and panting, 
he dared not lift his eyes to the baleful edifice. 

" Oh," he murmured, " can it really be that such a thing 
took place here to-day — this very morning? " 

He presently ventured a glance at the church. Its front 
was dark. The sky behind glittered with stars; the crescent 
moon; in her flight upward from the horizon, that moment 
touched the summit of the right-hand tower, and seemed to 
perch, like a luminous bird, on the black edge of the sculp- 
tured balustrade. 

The cloister gate was shut, but the Archdeacon always 
carried the key of the tower in which his laboratory was, and 
he now made use of it to enter the church. 

He found it dark and silent as a cavern. By the thick 
shadows that fell from all sides in broad patches, he knew 
that the hangings of the morning's ceremony had not yet 
been removed. The great silver cross glittered far off through 
the gloom, sprinkled here and there with shining points, like 
the Milky Way of that sepulchral night. The windows of the 
choir showed, above the black drapery, the upper extremity 
of their pointed arches, the stained glass of which, shot 
through by a ray of moonlight, had only the uncertain col- 
ours of the night — an indefinable violet, white, and blue, of a 
tint to be found only in the faces of the dead. To the Arch- 
deacon this half circle of pallid Gothic window-tops surround- 
ing the choir seemed like the mitres of bishops gone to per- 
dition. He closed his eyes, and when he opened them again 
he thought they were a circle of ghastly faces looking down 
upon him. 

He fled on through the church. Then it seemed to him 
that the church took to itself life and motion — swayed and 
heaved ; that each massive column had turned to an enormous 
limb beating the ground with its broad stone paw; and that 
the gigantic Cathedral was nothing but a prodigious elephant, 
snorting and stamping, with its pillars for legs, its two towers 
for tusks, and the immense black drapery for caparison. 

Thus his delirium or his madness had reached such a pitch 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

of intensity, that the whole external world had become to 
the unhappy wretch one great Apocalypse — visible, palpable, 

He found one minute's respite. Plunging into the side 
aisle, he caught sight, behind a group of pillars, of a dim 
red light. He ran to it as to a star of safety. It was the 
modest lamp which illumined day and night the public brevi- 
ary of Notre-Dame under its iron trellis. He cast his eye 
eagerly over the sacred book, in the hope of finding there 
some word of consolation or encouragement. The volume 
lay open at this passage of Job, over which he ran his blood- 
shot eye : " Then a spirit passed before my face, and I felt 
a little breath, and the hair of my flesh stood up." 

On reading these dismal words, he felt like a blind man 
who finds himself wounded by the stick he had picked up 
for his guidance. His knees bent under him, and he sank 
upon the pavement thinking of her who had died that day. 
So many hideous fumes passed through and out of his brain 
that he felt as if his head had become one of the chimnej^s 
of hell. 

He must have remained long in that position — past 
thought, crushed and passive in the clutch of the Fiend. At 
last some remnant of strength returned to him, and he be- 
thought him of taking refuge in the tower, beside his faithful 
Quasimodo. He rose to his feet, and fear being still upon 
him, b'^ took the lamp of the breviary to light him. It was 
sacrilege — but he was beyond regarding such trifles. 

Slowly he mounted the stairway of the tower, filled with 
a secret dread which was likely to be shared by the few 
persons traversing the Parvis at that hour and saw the mys- 
terious light ascending so late from loophole to loophole up 
to the top of the steeple. 

Suddenly he felt a breath of cold air on his face, and found 
himself under the doorway of the upper gallery. The air was 
sharp, the sky streaked with clouds in broad white streamers, 
which drifted into and crushed one another like river ice 
breaking up after a thaw. The crescent moon floating in 
their midst looked like some celestial bark set fast among 
these icebergs of the air. 

He glanced downward through the row of slender columns 



which joins the two towers and let his eye rest for a moment 
on the silent multitude of the roofs of Paris, shrouded in a 
veil of mist and smoke — jagged, innumerable, crowded, and 
small, like the waves of a tranquil sea in a summer's night. 

The young moon shed but a feeble ray, which imparted 
an ashy hue to earth and sky. 

At this moment the tower clock lifted its harsh and grating 
voice. It struck twelve. The priest recalled the hour of 
noon — twelve hours had passed. 

" Oh," he whispered to himself, " she must be cold by now ! " 
A sudden puff of wind extinguished his lamp, and almost at 
the same instant, at the opposite corner of the tower, he 
saw a shade — a something white — a shape, a female form 
appear. He trembled. Beside this woman stood a little goat 
that mingled its bleating with the last quaverings of the clock. 

He had the strength to look. It was she. 

She was pale and heavy-eyed. Her hair fell round her 
shoulders as in the morning, but there was no rope about her 
neck, her hands were unbound. She was free, she was dead. 

She was clad in white raiment, and a white veil was over 
her head. 

She moved towards him slowly looking up to heaven, 
followed by the unearthly goat. He felt turned to stone — too 
petrified to fly. At each step that she advanced, he fell back 
— that was all. In this manner he re-entered the dark vault 
of the stairs. He froze at the thought that she might do the 
same ; had she done so, he would have died of horror. 

She came indeed as far as the door, halted there for some 
moments, gazing fixedly into the darkness, but apparently 
without perceiving the priest, and passed on. She appeared 
to him taller than he remembered her in Hfe — he saw the 
moon through her white robe — he heard her breathe. 

When she had passed by, he began to descend the stairs 
with the same slow step he had observed in the spectre — 
thinking himself a spectre too — haggard, his hair erect, the 
extinguished lamp still in his hand. And as he descended 
the spiral stairs he distinctly heard a voice laughing and re- 
peating in his ears : " Then a spirit passed before my face, and 
I felt a little breath, and the hair of my flesh stood up." 

Notre-Dame de Paris 


Down to the time of Louis XII, every town in France 
had its i)lace of sanctuary, forming, in the deluge of penal 
laws and barbarous jurisdictions that inundated the cities, 
islands, as it were, which rose above the level of human justice. 
Any criminal landing upon one of them was safe. In every 
town there were almost as many of these places of refuge 
as there were of execution. It was the abuse of impunity 
side by side with the abuse of capital punishment — two evils 
seeking to correct one another. The royal palaces, the man- 
sions of the princes, and, above all, the churches, had right 
of sanctuary. Sometimes a whole town that happened to 
require repeopling was turned temporarily into a place of 
refuge. Louis XI made all Paris a sanctuary in 1467. 

Once set foot within the refuge, and the person of the 
criminal was sacred ; but he had to beware of leaving it — one 
step outside the sanctuary, and he fell back into the waters. 
The wheel, the gibbet, the strappado, kept close guard round 
the place of refuge, watching incessantly for their prey, like 
sharks about a vessel. Thus, men under sentence of death 
had been known to grow gray in a cloister, on the stairs of 
a palace, in the grounds of an abbey, under the porch of a 
church — in so far, the sanctuary itself was but a prison under 
another name. 

It sometimes happened that a solemn decree of parliament 
would violate the sanctuary, and reconsign the condemned 
into the hands of the executioner ; but this was of rare occur- 
rence. The parliaments stood in great awe of the bishops, 
and if it did come to a brush between the two robes, the 
gown generally had the worst of it against the cassock. Oc- 
casionally, however, as in the case of the assassination of Petit- 
Jean, the executioner of Paris, and in that of Emery Rous- 
seau, the murderer of Jean Valleret, justice would overleap 
the barriers of the Church, and pass on to the execution of 
its sentence. But, except armed with a decree of parliament, 
woe betide him who forcibly violated a place of sanctuary! 


Humpbacked, One-Eyed, Lame 

We know what befell Robert de Clermont, Marshal of France, 
and Jean de Chalons, Marshal of Champagne ; and yet it was 
only about a certain Perrin Marc, a money-changer's assistant 
and a vile assassin ; but the two marshals had forced the doors 
of the Church of Saint-Mery — therein lay the enormity of 
the transgression. 

According to tradition, these places of refuge were so sur- 
rounded by an atmosphere of reverence that it even afifected 
animals. Thus Aymoin relates that a stag, hunted by King 
Dagobert, having taken refuge beside the tomb of Saint- 
Denis, the hounds stopped the chase and stood barking. 

The churches usually had a cell set apart for these refu- 
gees. In 1407, Nicolas Flamel had one built in Saint-Jacques- 
de-la-Boucherie which cost him four livres, six sous, sixteen 
deniers parisis. 

In Notre-Dame it was a cell constructed over one of the 
side aisles, under the buttresses and facing towards the cloister, 
exactly on the spot where the wife of the present concierge of 
the towers has made herself a garden — which is to the hang- 
ing gardens of Babylon as a lettuce to a palm tree, as a 
portress to Semiramis. 

There it was that, after his frantic and triumphant course 
round the towers and galleries, Quasimodo had deposited Es- 
meralda. So long as the course had lasted the girl had re- 
mained almost unconscious, having only a vague perception 
that she was rising in the air — that she was floating — flying — 
being borne upward away from the earth. Ever and anon 
she heard the wild laugh, the raucous voice of Quasimodo 
in her ear: she half opened her eyes and saw beneath her 
confusedly the thousand roofs of Paris, tile and slate like a 
red and blue mosaic — and above her head Quasimodo's fright- 
ful and jubilant face. Then her eye-lids closed ; she believed 
that all was finished, that she had been executed during her 
swoon, and that the hideous genio who had ruled her destiny 
had resumed possession of her soul and was bearing it away. 
She dared not look at him, but resigned herself utterly. 

But when the bell-ringer, panting and dishevelled, had 
deposited her in the cell of refuge, when she felt his great 
hands gently untying the cords that cut her arms, she expe- 
rienced that shock which startles out of their sleep the pas- 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

sengers of a vessel that strikes on a rock in the middle of a 
dark night. So were her thoughts awakened, and her senses 
returned to her one by one. She perceived that she was in 
Notre-Dame, she remembered that she had been snatched 
from the hands of the executioner, that Phoebus was living, 
and that Phoebus loved her no more ; and these last two 
thoughts — the one so sweet, the other so bitter — presenting 
themselves simultaneously to the poor creature, she turned 
to Quasimodo, who still stood before her, filling her with 
terror, and said : 

" Why did you save me ? " 

He looked at her anxiously, striving to divine her words. 
She repeated her question, at Vvhich he gave her another look 
of profound sadness, and, to her amazement, hastened away. 

In a few minutes he returned, carrying a bundle which 
he threw at her feet. It was some wearing apparel deposited 
for her by some charitable women. At this she cast down 
her eyes over her person, saw that she was nearly naked, and 
blushed. Life w-as coming back to her. 

Quasimodo seemed to feel something of this modest shame. 
He veiled his eye with his broad hand and left her once 
more, but this time with reluctant steps. 

She hastened to clothe herself in the white robe and the 
white veil supplied to her. It was the habit of a novice of 
the Hotel-Dieu. 

She had scarcely finished when she saw Quasimodo re- 
turning, carrying a basket under one arm and a mattress 
under the other. The basket contained a bottle and bread 
and a few other provisions. He set the basket on the ground 
and said, " Eat." He spread the mattress on the stone floor 
— " Sleep," he said. 

It was his own food, his own bed, that the poor bell- 
ringer had been to fetch. 

The gipsy raised her eyes to him to thank him, but she 
could not bring herself to utter a word. The poor devil was 
in truth too frightful. She dropped her head with a shudder. 

" I frighten you," said he. " I am very ugly I know. 
Do not look upon me. Listen to what I have to say. In the 
daytime you must remain here, but at night you may go 
where you will about the church. But go not one step out- 


Humpbacked, One-Eyed, Lame 

side the church by day or night. You would be lost. They 
would kill you, and I should die." 

Touched by his words, she raised her head to answer him. 
He had disappeared. She found herself alone, musing upon 
the strange words of this almost monster and struck by the 
tone of his voice — so harsh, and yet so gentle. 

She presently examined her cell. It was a chamber some 
six feet square, with a small window and a door following 
the slight incline of the roofing of flat stones outside. Several 
gargoyles with animal heads seemed bending down and 
stretching their necks to look in at her window. Beyond 
the roof she caught a glimpse of a thousand chimney-tops 
from which rose the smoke of the many hearths of Paris — 
a sad sight to the poor gipsy — a foundling, under sentence 
of death, an unhappy outcast without country, or kindred, 
or home ! 

At the moment when the thought of her friendless plight 
assailed her more poignantly than ever before, she was startled 
— everything frightened her now — by a shaggy, bearded head 
rubbing against her knees. It was the poor little goat, the 
nimble Djali, which had made its escape and followed her 
at the moment when Quasimodo scattered Charmolue's men, 
and had been lavishing its caresses in vain at her feet for 
nearly an hour without obtaining a single glance from her. 
Its mistress covered it with kisses. 

" Oh, Djali ! " she exclaimed, " how could I have for- 
gotten thee thus? And dost thou still love me? Oh, thou 
— thou art not ungrateful ! " 

And then, as if some invisible hand had lifted the weight 
which had lain so long upon her heart and kept back her 
tears, she began to weep, and as the tears flowed all that 
was harshest and most bitter in her grief and pain was 
washed away. 

When night fell she found the air so sweet, the moonlight 
so soothing, that she ventured to make the round of the high 
gallery that surrounds the chui ch ; and it brought her 
some relief, so calm and distant did earth seem to her from 
that height. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 



On waking the next morning, she discovered to her sur- 
prise that she had slept — poor girl, she had so long been a 
stranger to sleep. A cheerful ray from the rising sun streamed 
through her window and fell upon her face. But with the 
sun something else looked in at her window that frightened 
her — the unfortunate countenance of Quasimodo. Involun- 
tarily she closed her eyes to shut out the sight, but in vain ; 
she still seemed to see through her rosy eye-lids that goblin 
face — one-eyed, broken-toothed, mask-like. Then, while she 
continued to keep her eyes shut, she heard a grating voice 
say in gentlest accents : 

" Be not afraid. I am a friend. I did but come to watch 
you sleeping. That cannot hurt you, can it, that I should 
come and look at you asleep? What can it matter to you if 
I am here so long as your eyes are shut? Now I will go. 
There, I am behind the wall — you may open your eyes again." 

There was' something more plaintive still than his words, 
and that was the tone in which they were spoken. Much 
touched, the gipsy opened her eyes. It was true, he was no 
longer at the window. She ran to" it and saw the poor hunch- 
back crouching against a corner of the wall in an attitude 
of sorrow and resignation. Overcoming with an effort the 
repulsion he inspired in her, " Come back," she said softly. 
From the movement of her lips, Quasimodo understood that 
she was driving him away ; he therefore rose and hobbled ofi" 
slowly, with hanging head, not venturing to lift even his 
despairing glance to the girl. 

" Come hither ! " she called, but he kept on his way. At 
this she hastened out of the cell, ran after him, and put her 
hand on his arm. At her touch Quasimodo thrilled from 
head to foot. He lifted a suppliant eye. and perceiving that 
she was drawing him towards her, his whole face lit up with 
tenderness and delight. She would have had him enter her 
cell, but he remained firmly on the threshold. '' No, no,'* 
said he ; " the owl goes not into the nest of the lark." 



She proceeded, therefore, to nestle down prettily on her 
couch, with the goat asleep at her feet, and both remained 
thus for some time motionless, gazing in silence — he at so 
much beauty, she at so much ugliness. Each moment re- 
vealed to her some fresh deformity. Her eyes wandered from 
the bowed knees to the humped back, from the humped back 
to the Cyclops eye. She could not imagine how so misshapen 
a being could carry on existence. And yet there was diffused 
over the whole such an air of melancholy and gentleness that 
she began to be reconciled to it. 

He was the first to break the silence. 

" You were telling me to come back ? " 

She nodded in affirmation and said, " Yes." 

He understood the motion of her head. " Alas ! " he 
said, and hesitated as if reluctant to finish the sentence ; " you 
see, I am deaf." 

" Poor soul ! " exclaimed the gipsy with a look of 
kindly pity. 

He smiled sorrowfully. " Ah ! you think I was bad enough 
without that ? Yes, I am deaf. That is the way I am made ! 
'Tis horrible, in truth. And you — you are so beautiful." 

In the poor creature's tone there was so profound a con- 
sciousness of his pitiable state, that she had not the resolution 
to utter a word of comfort. Besides, he would not have 
heard it. He continued : 

" Never did I realize my deformity as I do now. When 
I compare myself with you, I do indeed pity myself — poor 
unhappy monster that I am! Confess — I look to you like 
some terrible beast? You — you are like a sunbeam, a drop 
of dew, the song of a bird! While I am something fear- 
some — neither man nor beast — a something that is harder, 
more trodden underfoot, more unsightly than a stone by the 
wayside ! " And he laughed — the most heart-rending kind of 
laughter in all the world. 

" Yes, I am deaf," he went on. " But you can speak to 
me by signs and gestures. I have a master who talks to me 
in that manner. And then I shall soon know your will by 
the motion of your lips and by your face." 

" Well, then," she said, smiling, " tell me why you 
saved me." 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

He looked at her attentively while she spoke. 

" I understood," he repUed, " you were asking why I saved 
you. You have forgotten a poor wretch who tried to carry 
you off one night — a wretch to whom, next day, you brought 
rehef on the shameful pillory. A drop of water — a little pity 
— that is more than my whole life could repay. You have 
forgotten — he remembers." 

She listened to him with profound emotion. A tear rose 
to the bell-ringer's eye, but it did not fall ; he seemed to make 
it a point of honour that it should not fall. 

" Listen," he said, when he had regained control over him- 
self. " We have very high towers here ; a man, if he fell from 
one, would be dead before he reached the ground. If ever 
you desire me to throw myself down, you have but to say 
the word — a glance will suffice." 

He turned to go. Unhappy as the gipsy girl herself was, 
this grotesque creature awakened some compassion in her. 
She signed to him to remain. 

" No, no," he returned, " I may not stay here too long. 
I am not at my ease while you look at me. It is only from 
pity that you do not turn away your eyes. I will go to a 
spot where I can see you without being seen in my turn. It 
will be better." 

He drew from his pocket a little metal whistle. 

" Here," he said, " when you have need of me, when you 
wish me to come, when you are not too disgusted to look 
at me, then sound this whistle ; I can hear that." 

He laid the whistle on the floor and hastened away. 



The days succeeded one another. 

Little by little tranquility returned to Esmeralda's spirits. 
Excess of suffering, like excess of joy, is a condition too 
violent to last. The human heart is incapable of remaining 


Earthenware and Crystal 

long in any extreme. The gipsy had endured such agonies 
that, her only remaining emotion at its recollection was 

With the feeling of security hope returned to her. She 
was outside the pale of society, of life ; but she had a vague 
sense that it was not wholly impossible that she should re- 
enter it — as if dead but having in reserve a key to open 
her tomb. 

The terrible images that had so long haunted her with- 
drew by degrees. All the grewsome phantoms — Pierrat 
Torterue, Jacques Charmolue, and the rest, even the priest 
himself — faded from her mind. 

And then — Phoebus was living; she was sure of it, she 
had seen him. 

The fact of Phoebus being alive was all in all to her. 
After the series of earthquake shocks that had overturned 
everything, left no stone standing on another in her soul, one 
feeling alone had stood fast, and that was her love for the 
soldier. For love is like a tree; it grows of itself, strikes 
its roots deep into our being, and often continues to flourish 
and keep green over a heart in ruins. 

And the inexplicable part of it is, that the blinder this 
passion the more tenacious is it. It is never more firmly 
seated than when it has no sort of reason. 

Assuredly Esmeralda could not think of the captain with- 
out pain. Assuredly it was dreadful that he too should have 
been deceived, should have believed it possible that the dagger- 
thrust had been dealt by her who would have given a thousand 
lives for him. And yet he was not so much to blarpe, tor 
had she not confessed her crime? Had she not yielded, weak 
woman that she was, to the torture? The fault was hers, and 
hers alone. She ought rather to have let them tear the nails 
from her feet than such an avowal from her lips. Still, could 
she but see Phoebus once again, for a single minute, it needed 
but a word, a look, to undeceive him. to bring him back to 
her. She did not doubt it for a moment. She closed her 
eyes to the meaning of various singular things, or put a plausi- 
ble construction on them : the chance presence of Phoebus on 
the day of her penance, the lady who stood beside him — his 
sister, no doubt. The explanation was most unlikely, but 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

she contented herself with it because she wished to beHeve 
that Phoebus still loved her, and her alone. Had he not sworn 
it to her? And what more did she need — simple and credu- 
lous creature that she was? Besides, throughout the whole 
affair, were not appearances far more strongly against her 
than against him? So she waited — she hoped. 

Added to this, the church itself, the vast edifice wrapping 
her round on all sides, protecting, saving her, was a sovereign 
balm. The solemn lines of its architecture, the religious atti- 
tude of all the objects by which the girl was surrounded, the 
serene and pious thoughts that breathed, so to speak, from 
every pore of these venerable stones, acted upon her unceas- 
ingly. Sounds arose from it, too, of such blessedness and 
such majesty that they soothed that tortured spirit. The 
monotonous chants of the priests and the responses of the 
people — sometimes an inarticulate murmur, sometimes a roll 
of thunder; the harmonious trembling of the windows, the 
blast of the organ like a hive of enormous bees, that entire 
orchestra with its gigantic gamut ascending and descending 
incessantly — from the voice of the multitude to that of a single 
bell — deadened her memory, her imagination, her pain. The 
bells in especial lulled her. A potent magnetism flowed from 
the vast metal domes and rocked her on its waves. 

Thus, each succeeding mom found her calmer, less pale, 
breathing more freely. And as the wounds of her spirit healed, 
her outward grace and beauty bloomed forth again, but richer, 
more composed. Her former character also returned — some- 
thing even of her gaiety, her pretty pout, her love for her 
goat, i.'er pleasure in singing, her delicate modesty. She was 
careful to retire into the most secluded corner of her cell when 
dressing in the mornings, lest some one from the neighbouring 
attics should see her through the little window. 

When her dreams of Phoebus left her the leisure, the 
gipsy sometimes let her thoughts stray to Quasimodo — the 
only link, the only means of communication with mankind, 
with life, that remained to her. Hapless creature ! she was 
more cut off from the world than Quasimodo himself. She 
knew not what to think of the singular friend whom chance 
had given her. She often reproached herself that hers was 
not the gratitude that could veil her eyes, but it was useless 


Earthenware and Crystal 

— she could not accustom herself to the poor bell-ringer. He 
was too repulsive. 

She had left the whistle he gave her lying on the ground ; 
which, however, did not prevent Quasimodo from appearing 
from time to time during the first days. She did her very 
utmost not to turn away in disgust when he brought her the 
basket of provisions and the pitcher of water, but he instantly 
perceived the slightest motion of the kind, and hastened sor- 
rowfully away. 

Once he happened to come at the moment she was caress- 
ing Djali. He stood a few minutes pensively contemplating 
the charming group, and at last said, shaking his heavy, mis- 
shapen head : 

" My misfortune is that I am still too much like a man. 
Would I were a beast outright like that goat! " 

She raised her eyes to him in astonishment. 

He answered her look, " Oh, I know very well why." 
And he went away. 

Another time he presented himself at the door of the cell 
(into which he never entered) while Esmeralda was singing 
an old Spanish ballad, the words of which she did not under- 
stand, but which had lingered in her ear because the gipsy 
women had sung her to sleep with it when a child. At the 
sight of the hideous face appearing suddenly, the girl broke 
of¥ with an involuntary gesture of fright. The unhappy bell- 
ringer fell upon his knees on the threshold, and with a sup- 
pliant look clasped his great shapeless hands. " Oh ! " he said 
in piteous accents, " I conjure you to continue — do not drive 
me away ! " Unwilling to pain him, she tremblingly resumed 
her song, and by degrees her fright wore ofif, till she aban- 
doned herself wholly to the slow and plaintive measure of 
the air. He, the while, had remained upon his knees, his 
hands clasped as if in prayer — attentive, scarcely breathing — 
his gaze fixed on the gipsy's radiant eyes. He seemed to 
hear the music of her voice in those twin stars. 

Another time again, he approached her with an awkward 
and timid air. " Listen," said he with an efifort, " I have 
something to say to you." She signed to him that she was 
listening. He sighed deeply, opened his lips, seemed for a 
moment to be on the point of speaking, then looked her in 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

the face, shook his head, and slowly withdrew, his forehead 
bowed in his hand, leaving the Egyptian wondering and 

Among the grotesques sculptured on the wall, there was 
one for which he had a particular affection, and with which 
he often seemed to exchange fraternal looks. Once the gipsy 
heard him say to it : ** Oh ! why am I not fashioned of stone 
like thee?" 

At length, one morning Esmeralda had advanced to the 
edge of the roof and was looking down into the Place over 
the sharp roof-ridge of Saint-Jean le Rond. Quasimodo stood 
behind her, as was his habit, that he might spare her as 
much as possible the pain of seeing him. Suddenly the gipsy 
started ; a tear and a flash of joy shone together in her eyes ; 
she fell on her knees, and stretching out her arms in anguish 
towards the Place : 

" Phoebus 1 " she cried, " come ! come to me ! one word, 
one single word, for the love of heaven ! Phoebus ! Phcebus ! " 

Her voice, her face, her gesture, her whole attitude had 
the heart-rending aspect of a shipwrecked mariner making 
signals of distress to some gay vessel passing on the distant 
horizon in a gleam of sunshine. 

Leaning over in his turn, Quasimodo perceived the object 
of this tender and agonizing prayer — a young man, a soldier, 
a handsome cavalier glittering in arms and gay attire, who 
was caracoling through the Place and sweeping his plumed 
hat to a lady smiling down on him from a balcony. The offi- 
cer could not hear the unhappy girl calling to him. He was 
too far ofi. 

But the poor deaf ringer heard. A profound sigh heaved 
his breast. He turned away. His heart was swelling with 
the tears he drove back ; his two clenched fists went up con- 
vulsively to his head, and when he drew them away they 
each held a handful of his rough red hair. 

The Egyptian paid no heed to him. 

" Damnation ! " he muttered, as he ground his teeth, " so 
that is how a man should be — he need only have a handsome 
outside ! " 

Meanwhile she was still on her knees crying out in terri- 
ble agitation: 


Earthenware and Crystal 

" Oh ! — now he is dismounting from his horse — he is going 
into that house — Phoebus ! He does not hear me. Phoebus ! 
The shameless woman, to be speaking to him at the same time 
that I do ! Phoebus ! Phoebus ! " 

The deaf man watched her. He understood her gestures, 
and the poor bell-ringer's eye filled with tears, though he 
let not one of them fall. Presently he pulled her gently by 
the hem of her sleeve. She turned round. He had assumed 
an untroubled mien. 

" Shall I go and fetch him ? " he asked quietly. 

She gave a cry of joy. " Oh, go ! Go quickly — run ! 
hasten ! it is that officer ! that officer — bring him to me, and 
I will love thee 1 " 

She clasped his knees. He could not refrain from shaking 
his head mournfully. 

" I will bring him to you," he said in a low voice ; then, 
turning away his head, he strode to the stair-case, suffocating 
with sobs. 

By the time he reached the Place there was nothing to 
be seen but the horse fastened to the door of the Gonde- 
laurier's house. The captain had gone in. 

Quasimodo looked up at the roof of the Cathedral, Es- 
meralda was still in the same place, in the same attitude. He 
made her a melancholy sign of the head, then established 
himself with his back against one of the posts of the porch, 
determined to wait until the captain came out. 

It was, at the Logis Gondelaurier, one of those gala days 
which precede a wedding. Quasimodo saw many people go 
in, but nobody come away. From time to time he looked up 
at the church roof. The gipsy never stirred from her post 
any more than he. A groom came, untied the horse and led 
him away to the stables of the mansion. 

The whole day passed thus. Quasimodo leaning against 
the post, Esmeralda on the roof, Phoebus, no doubt, at the 
feet of Fleur-de-Lys. 

Night fell at last — a dark night without a moon. Quasi- 
modo might strain his gaze towards Esmeralda, she faded 
into a m.ere glimmer of light in the gloaming — then nothing; 
all was swallowed up in darkness. 

He now saw the whole fagade of the Gondelaurier mansun 

R 375 ^"^•'^ 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

illuminated from top to bottom. He saw one after another 
the windows in the Place lit up, one after another also he saw 
the lights disappear from them; for he remained the whole 
evening at his post. The officer never came out. When the 
last wayfarer had gone home, when every window of the 
other houses was dark, Quasimodo, quite alone, remained 
lost in the shadows. The Parvis of Notre-Dame was not 
lighted in those days. 

However, the windows of the Gondelaurier mansion blazed 
on even after midnight. Quasimodo, motionless, and ever 
on the alert, saw a ceaseless crowd of moving, dancing shad- 
ows pass across the many-coloured windows. Had he not 
been deaf, in proportion as the murmur of slumbering Paris 
died away, he would have heard more and more distinctly 
from within the Logis Gondelaurier the sound of revelry, of 
laughter, and of music. 

Towards one in the morning the guests began to depart. 
Quasimodo, crouching in the deep shadovv, watched them all 
as they passed under the torch-lit doorway. The captain was 
not among them. 

He was filled with sadness ; now and then he looked up 
into the air like one weary of waiting. Great black clouds, 
heavy and ragged, hung in deep festoons under the starry 
arch of night — the cobwebs of the celestial roof. 

At one of these moments he suddenly saw the folding glass 
door on to the balcony, the stone balustrade of which was 
dimly visible above him, open cautiously and give passage 
to a couple, behind whom it closed noiselessly. It was a 
male and female figure, in whom Quasimodo had no diffi- 
culty in recognising the handsome captain and the young 
lady he had seen that morning welcoming the officer from 
that same balcony. The Place w^as in complete darkness, and 
a thick crimson curtain which had fallen over the glass door 
as soon as it closed, intercepted any ray of light from the 
apartment within. 

The young couple, as far as our deaf spectator could judge 
without hearing a word of what they said, appeared to abandon 
themselves to a very tender tctc-a-tefe. The lady had evi- 
dently permitted the officer to encircle her waist with his arm, 
and was not too energetically resisting a kiss. 


Earthenware and Crystal 

Quasimodo witnessed this scene from below — all the more 
attractive that it was not intended for any strange eye. With 
bitterness and pain he looked on at so much happiness, so 
much beauty. After all, nature w^as not altogether mute in 
the poor wretch, and though his back was crooked, his nerves 
were not less susceptible than another man's. He thought 
of the miserable share in life that Providence had meted out 
to him ; that woman, and the joys of love, must forever pass 
him by ; that he could never attain to being more than a spec- 
tator of the felicity of others. But that which wrung his heart 
most in this scene, and added indignation to his chagrin, was 
that the gipsy would suffer were she to behold it. To be sure, 
the night was very dark, and Esmeralda, if she still remained 
at her post (and he did not doubt it), was too far off, con- 
sidering that he himself could barely distinguish the lovers on 
the balcony ; this consoled him somewhat. 

Meanwhile the conversation above became more and more 
ardent. The lady appeared to be entreating the officer to 
solicit no more from her; but all that Quasimodo could dis- 
tinguish were the clasped white hands, the mingled smiles 
and tears, the soft eyes of the girl uplifted to the stars, the 
man's burning gaze devouring her. 

Fortunately for the girl, whose resistance was growing 
weaker, the door of the balcony opened suddenly, and an 
elder lady appeared ; the fair maid seemed confused, the 
officer disgusted, and all three returned inside. 

A moment afterward a horse clattered under the porch, 
and the gay officer wrapped in his military cloak passed 
Quasimodo quickly. 

The bell-ringer let him turn the corner of the street, and 
ran after him with his ape-like nimbleness, calling, " He there ! 
captain ! " 

The captain drew up. " What does this rascal want with 
me ? " said he, peering through the darkness at the queer, 
uncouth figure hobbling after him. 

Quasimodo came up to him, and boldly taking the horse 
by the bridle, said, " Follow me, captain ; there's one here 
would have speech of you." 

" Horns of the devil ! " growled Phoebus, " here's a vil- 
lainous, ragged bird methinks I've seen somewhere be- 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

fore. Now, then, mv friend, let go my horse's rein, T tell 
thee " 

" Captain," returned the deaf ringer, " are you not asking 
me who it is? " 

" I am telling thee to let go my horse," retorted Phoe- 
bus impatiently. " What does the fellow mean by hanging 
at my charger's rein? Dost take my beast for a gal- 
lows ? " 

Far from leaving hold of the horse, Quasimodo was pre- 
paring to turn him round. Unable to explain to himself the 
officer's resistance, he hastened to say : " Come, captain, 'tis 
a w^oman awaits you," and he added with an effort, " a woman 
who loves you." 

" A droll rascal ! " said the captain, " who thinks me 
obliged to run after every woman that loves me, or says she 
does ; especially, if perchance she is anything like thee, owl- 
faced one ! Go — tell her who sent thee that I am going to 
be married, and she may go to the devil ! " 

" Hark you ! " cried Quasimodo, thinking with a single 
word to overcome his hesitation ; " come, monseigneur, 'tis 
the gipsy girl you wot of ! " 

This word did indeed make a tremendous impression on 
Phoebus, but not the kind the hunchback expected. It will 
be remembered that the gallant officer had retired from the 
balcony with Fleur-de-Lys a few minutes before Quasimodo 
saved the condemned girl out of Charmolue's hands. Since 
then, in all his visits to the Gondelaurier mansion, he had 
taken good care not to mention the woman, the recollection 
of whom, after all, was painful to him ; and Fleur-de-Lys, on 
her part, had not deemed it politic to tell him that the gipsy 
was alive. Consequently Phoebus believed poor " Similar," as 
he called her, to be dead, and what's more, for a month or 
two. Added to which, the captain had been thinking for some 
moments past that the night was pitch dark ; that, combined 
with the sepulchral voice and supernatural ugliness of the 
strange messenger, it was past midnight ; that the street was 
as deserted as on the night the spectre-monk had accosted 
him, and that his horse had snorted violently at sight of 
the hunchback. 

" The gipsy girl ! " he exclaimed, almost in fear. " How 


Earthenware and Crystal 

now, comest thou from the other world ? " and his hand went 
to his dagger-hilt. 

" Quick, quick ! " said the hunchback, trying to lead the 
horse on. " This way," 

Phoebus planted a vigorous kick in the middle of his 
chest. Quasimodo's eye flashed. He made as if to throw 
himself on the captain, but checked himself suddenly, " Oh," 
he exclaimed, " 'tis well for you there's some one that loves 
you ! " He laid particular stress on the " some one," then 
dropping the horse's bridle, " Go your way ! " he cried. 

Phoebus put spurs to his horse and galloped off, swear- 
ing lustily. 

Quasimodo watched him disappear down the dark street, 
" Oh," murmured the poor deaf hunchback, " to think of 
refusing that ! " 

He returned to the Cathedral, lit his lamp, and mounted 
the stairs of the tower. As he had surmised, the gipsy was 
where he had left her. 

The moment she caught sight of him she ran to him. 
" Alone ! " she cried, clasping her beautiful hands in despair. 

" I did not find him," answered Quasimodo coldly. 

" You should have waited the whole night through ! " 
she retorted vehemently. 

He saw her angry gesture and understood the reproach. 
*' I will watch better another time," he said, hanging his head. 

" Get you gone ! " said she. 

He left her. She was displeased with him. But he had 
chosen rather to be misjudged by her than give her pain. 
He kept all the grief to himself. 

From that day forward the gipsy saw him no more; he 
came no more to her cell. At most, she would catch a 
glimpse now and then of the bell-ringer's countenance look- 
ing mournfully down upon her from the summit of a tower, 
but directly she perceived him he would vanish. 

We must confess that she was not greatly affected by this 
voluntary withdrawal of the hunchback. In her heart she 
was grateful to him for it. Nor did Quasimodo delude him- 
self upon the subject. 

She saw him no more, but she felt the presence of a good 
genius about her. Her provisions were renewed by an invisi- 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

ble hand while she slept. One morning she found a cage of 
birds on her window-sill. Above her cell there was a sculp- 
tured figure that frightened her. She had given evidence of 
this more than once in Quasimodo's presence. One morning 
(for all these things were done in the night) she woke to 
find it gone. It had been broken away, and whoever had 
climbed up to that figure must have risked his life. 

Sometimes, in the evening, she would hear a voice, con- 
cealed under the leaden eaves of the steeple, singing, as if to 
lull her to sleep, a melancholy and fantastic song, without 
rhyme or rhythm, such as a deaf man might make : 

" Look not on the face. 

Maiden, look upon the heart. 
The heart of a fair youth is oft unsightly ; 
There be hearts that cannot hold love long. 

Maiden, the pine's not fair to see, 

Not fair to see as the poplar is, 

But it keeps its green the winter through. 

" Alas, 'tis vain to speak like this ! 
What is not fair ought not to be ; 
Beauty will only beauty love ; 
April looks not on January. 

" Beauty is perfect, 
Beauty can do all. 
Beauty is the only thing that does not live by halves. 
The raven flies only by day. 
The owl flies only by night, 
The swan flies day and night." 

1L One morning when she rose she found two vases full of 
flowers standing at the window. One of them was of glass, 
very beautiful in shape and colour, but cracked ; it had let all 
the water in it run out, and the flowers it held w^ere faded. 
The other was of earthenware, rude and common, but it 
retained all the water, so that its flowers remained fresh 
and blooming. 

I know not if she acted with intention, but Esmeralda 
took the faded nosegay and wore it in her bosom all day. 

That day the voice from the tower was silent. 


The Key of the Porte Rouge 

She did not greatly care. She passed her days in caressing 
DjaU, in watching the door of the Gondelaurier mansion, in 
talking to herself about Phoebus, and crumbling her bread 
to the swallows. 

Besides, she had altogether ceased to see or hear Quasi- 
modo. The poor bell-ringer seemed to have disappeared from 
the church. However, one night as she lay awake thinking 
of her handsome captain, she was startled by hearing the 
sound of breathing near her cell. She rose, and saw by the 
light of the moon a shapeless mass lying across her door. It 
was Quasimodo sleeping there upon the stones. 



Meanwhile public talk had acquainted the Archdeacon 
with the miraculous manner in which the gipsy girl had been 
saved. He knew not what his feelings were when he learned 
this. He had reconciled himself to the thought of Esme- 
ralda's death, and so had regained some peace of mind — he 
had touched the depths of possible affliction. The human 
heart (and Dom Claude had meditated upon these matters) 
cannot hold more than a given quantity of despair. When 
th^_spon^ js_ soaked^^an .oceair. may -pass- u3ver_it-withouTlts 
absQubing one drop more. 

Now Esmeralda dead, the sponge was full ; the last word 
had been said for Dom Claude on this earth. But to k;now 
her living, and Phoebus too, was to take up his martyrdom, 
his pangs, his schemes and alternatives — in short, his whole 
life again. And Claude was weary of it all. 

When he learned the news, he shut himself up in his cell 
in the cloister. He did not appear at the conferences of the 
chapter, nor at any of the services of the church, and closed 
his door to every one, even the bishop. He kept himself thus 
immured for several weeks. He was judged to be ill, as 
indeed he was. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

What was he doing while shut up thus? With what 
thoughts was the unhappy man contending. Was he mak- 
ing a last stand against his fatal passion — combining some 
final plan of death for her and perdition for himself? 

His Jehan, his beloved brother, his spoiled darling, came 
once to his door and knocked, swore, entreated, told his 
name a dozen times over. The door remained closed. 

He passed whole days with his face pressed against his 
window, for from thence he could see the cell of Esmeralda, 
and often the girl herself with her goat, sometimes with 
Qviasimodo. He remarked the deaf hunchback's assiduities, 
his obedience, his delicate and submissive ways with the gipsy. 
He remembered — for he had a long memory, and memory 
is the scourge of the jealous — the peculiar look the bell-ringer 
had fixed upon the dancing girl on a certain evening, and he 
asked himself what motive could have urged Quasimodo to 
save her. He was witness of a thousand little scenes between 
the gipsy and the hunchback, the pantomime of which, seen 
at that distance and commented on by his passion, seemed 
ver)' tender to him. He mistrusted the capricious fancy of 
woman. And presently he was vaguely conscious of enter- 
taining a jealousy such as he never could have anticipated — 
a jealousy that made him redden with shame and indignation. 

" The captain," thought he, " well, that might pass ; but 
this one — ! " The idea overwhelmed him. 

His nights were dreadful. Since ever he learned tliatihe 
gipsy girl was alive, the cold images "^6f spectres and the grave 
which had possessed him for a whole day, vanished, and the 
flesh retvirned to torment him. He writhed upon his bed to 
Icnow the girl so near him. 

Each night his delirious imagination called up Esmeralda 
before him in all the attitudes most calculated to inflame his 
blood. He saw her swooning over the stabbed officer, her 
fair, uncovered bosom crimsoned with the young man's blood 
— at that moment of poignant delight when the Archdeacon 
had imprinted on her pallid lips that kiss of which, half dead 
as she was, the unhappy girl had felt the burning pressure. 
Again he beheld her disrobed by the rude hands of the tor- 
turers, saw them lay bare and thrust into the hideous boot 
with its iron screws her tiny foot, her round and delicate leg, 


Sequel to the Key of the Porte Rouge 

her white and supple knee. He saw that ivory knee alone left 
visible outside Torterue's horrible apparatus. Finally, he pic- 
tured to himself the girl in her shift, the rope round her 
neck, her shoulders and her feet bare, almost naked, as he 
had seen her that last day and he clenched his hands in 
agony, and a long shiver ran through him. 

At last one night these images so cruelly inflamed his 
celibate's blood that he tore his pillow with his teeth, leaped 
from his bed, threw a surplice over his night garment, and 
left his cell, lamp in hand, haggard, half naked, the fire of 
madness in his eyes. 

He knew where to find the key of the Porte Rouge, the 
communication between the cloister and the church, and, as 
we know, he always carried with him a key to the tower 



That night Esmeralda had fallen asleep in her little cham- 
ber full of hope and sweet thoughts, the horrors of the past 
forgotten. She had been sleeping for some time, dreaming, 
as ever, of Phoebus, when she seemed to hear some sound. 
Her slumbers were light and broken — the sleep of a bird ; 
the slightest thing awoke her. She opened her eyes. The 
night was very dark. Nevertheless, she saw a face peering 
in at her through the window — a lamp shed its light on this 
apparition. The moment it found itself observed by Esme- 
ralda the apparition extinguished the lamp. However, the 
girl had had time to recognise the features. She closed her 
eyes in terror. 

" Oh," she murmured weakly, '' the priest ! " 

All her past misfortunes flashed like lightning through 
her mind. She fell back upon her bed frozen with horror. 

The next moment she felt something in contact with the 
whole length of her body which sent such a shudder through* 
her that she started up in bed, wide awake and furious. The 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

priest had glided up beside her and clasped his arms about 

She tried to scream but could not. 

" Begone, monster ! begone, assassin ! " she said, in a voice 
hoarse with passion and dread. 

" Have pity ! have pity ! " murmured the priest, pressing 
his lips to her shoulder. 

She clutched his tonsured head by its scant remaining 
locks and strove to repel his kisses as if he had been biting her. 

" Have pity ! " repeated the unhappy wretch. " Didst 
thou but know what my love for thee is ! 'Tis fire ! 'tis 
molten lead — a thousand daggers in my heart ! " 

He held her arm fast with a superhuman grip. " Let me 
go ! " she cried wildly, " or I spit in thy face I '' 

He released her. " Vilify me — strike me — be angry — do 
W'hat thou wilt ; but in mercy, love me ! " 

She struck him with the fury of a child. She raised her 
pretty hands to tear his face. " Away, demon! " 

" Love me ! love me ! " pleaded the unhappy priest, com- 
ing close to her again and answering her blows by caresses. 

Suddenly she felt that he was overpowering her. " There 
must be an end to this," said he, grinding his teeth. 

She was vanquished, panting, broken, in his arms, at his 
mercv. She felt a lascivious hand groping over her, and 
making one supreme effort she screamed, " Help ! help ! a 
vampire ! a vampire ! " 

But no one came. Only Djali was awakened and bleating 
in terror. 

" Keep quiet," panted the priest. Suddenly in her strug- 
gles the gipsy's hand came against something cold and me- 
tallic. It was Quasimodo's whistle. She seized it with a spasm 
of relief, put it to her lips, and blew with all her remaining 
strength. The whistle came clear, shrill, piercing. 

" What is that ? " said the priest. Almost as he spoke he 
felt himself dragged away by vigorous arms ; the cell was 
dark, he could not distinguish clearly who it was that held 
him, but he heard teeth gnashing with rage, and there was 
just sufficient light in the gloom to show him the glitter of a 
great knife-blade just above his head. 

The priest thought he could distinguish the outline 


Sequel to the Key of the Porte Rouge 

Quasimodo. He supposed it could be no one else. He 
recollected having stumbled, in entering, over a bundle lying 
across the outside of the door. Yet, as the new-comer uttered 
no word, he knew not what to think. He seized the arm that 
held the knife. " Quasimodo ! " he cried, forgetting in this 
moment of danger that Quasimodo was deaf. 

In a trice the priest was thrown upon the floor and felt 
a knee of iron planted on his chest. By the pressure of that 
knee he recognised the hunchback. But what could he do 
— how make himself known to the other? Night made the 
deaf man blind. 

He was lost. The girl, pitiless as an enraged tigress, 
would not interfere to save him. The knife was nearing his 
head — it was a critical moment. Suddenly his adversary 
seemed to hesitate. " No blood near her ! " he said under 
his breath. 

There was no mistaking — it was Quasimodo's voice. 

On this the priest felt the huge hand dragging him out 
of the cell by the foot ; he was to die outside. 

Fortunately for him the moon had just risen. As they 
crossed the threshold a pale ray fell across the priest's face. 
Quasimodo stared at him, a tremor seized him, he relinquished 
his hold and shrank back. 

The gipsy girl, who had stolen to the door, was surprised 
to see them suddenly change parts ; for now^ it was the priest 
who threatened and Quasimodo who entreated. 

The priest, overwhelming the deaf man with gestures of 
anger and reproof, motioned vehemently to him to withdraw. 

The hunchback hung his head, then went and knelt before 
the gipsy's door. " Monseigneur," he said in firm but re- 
signed tones, " you will do as you think fit afterward, but 
you will have to kill me first." So saying, he offered his knife 
to the priest. 

Claude, beside himself with passion, put out his hand to 
seize it, but the girl was too quick for him. She snatched 
the knife from Quasimodo and burst into a frantic laugh. 
" Now come ! " she cried to the priest. 

She held the blade aloft. The priest faltered — she would 
most certainly have struck. " You dare not approach me, 
coward ! " she cried. Then she added in a pitiless tone, and 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

knowing well that she was plunging a thousand red-hot irons 
into the priest's heart : " Ha ! I know that Phoebus is not 
dead ! " 

The priest threw Quasimodo to the ground with a furious 
kick ; then, trembling with passion, hurled himself into the 
darkness of the stair-case. 

When he was gone, Quasimodo picked up the whistle 
which had just been the means of saving the gipsy. " It was 
getting rusty," was all he said as he handed it back to her; 
then he left her to herself. 

Overpowered by the violent scene, the girl sank exhausted 
upon her couch and broke into bitter sobs. Her outlook was 
becoming sinister once more. 

Meanwhile the priest had groped his way back to nis cell. 

It had come to this — Dom Claude was jealous of Quasi- 
modo. Lost in thought, he repeated his baleful words, " No 
one shall have her." 





Directly Gringoire had seen the turn affairs were taking, 
and that there was every prospect of the rope, the gallows, 
and various other disagreeables for the chief actors in this 
drama, he felt in nowise drawn to take part in it. The 
truaiids, with whom he had remained, considering them the 
best company in Paris — the truaiids continued to be inter- 
ested in the gipsy girl. This he judged very natural in 
people who, like her, had nothing but Charmolue and Tor- 
terue to look forward to, and did not caracol in the regions 
of the imagination as he did astride of Pegasus. He had 
learned from them that his bride of the broken pitcher had 
taken refuge in Notre-Dame, and he rejoiced at it. But he 
was not even tempted to go and visit her there. He some- 
times thought of the little goat, but that was the utmost. 
For the rest, he performed feats of strength during the day- 
time to earn a living, and at night he was engaged in elab- 
orating a memorial against the Bishop of Paris, for he had 
not forgotten how the wheels of his mills had drenched him, 
and owed the bishop a grudge in consequence. He was also 
busy writing a commentary on the great work of Baudry le 
Rouge, Bishop of Noyon and Tournay, De Cupa Petraritm, 
which had inspired him with a violent taste for architecture, 
a love which had supplanted his passion for hermetics, of 
which, too, it was but a natural consequence, seeing that there 
is an intimate connection between hermetics and freemasonry. 
Gringoire had passed from the love of an idea to the love 
lor its outward form. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

He happened one day to stop near the Church of Saint- 
Germain-l'Auxerrois, at a corner of a building called the For- 
rfiveque, which was opposite another called the For-le-Roi. 
To the former was attached a charming fourteenth century 
chapel, the chancel of which was towards the street. Grin- 
goire was absorbed in studying its external sculpture. It was 
one of those moments of selfish, exclusive, and supreme en- 
joyment in which the artist sees nothing in all the world but 
art, and sees the whole world in art. Suddenly a hand was 
laid heavily on his shoulder. He turned round — it was his 
former friend and master, the Archdeacon. 

He stood gaping stupidly. It was long since he had seen 
the Archdeacon, and Dom Claude was one of those grave and 
intense men who invariably upset a sceptical philosopher's 

The Archdeacon kept silence for some moments, during 
which Gringoire found leisure to observe him more closely. 
He thought Dom Claude greatly altered, pallid as a winter's 
morning, hollow-eyed, his hair nearly white. The priest was 
the first to break this silence : 

"How fares it with you, Maitre Pierre?" he asked in a 
cold and even tone. 

" My health ? " returned Gringoire. " Well, as to that, 
it has its ups and downs ; but on the whole, I may say it is 
good. I am moderate in all things. You know, master, the 
secret, according to Hippocrates; 'id est: cibi, potiis, souini, 
vemis, omnia modcrata sunt.'' " * 

"You have no care then, Maitre Gringoire?" resumed 
the priest, fixing Gringoire with a penetrating eye, 

" Faith, not I." 

" And what are you doing now? " 

" You see for yourself, master ; I am examining the cutting 
of these stones, and the style of this bas-relief." 

The priest smiled faintly, but with that scornful smile 
which only curls one corner of the mouth. " And that 
amuses you ? " 

" It is paradise ! " exclaimed Gringoire. And bending 
over the stone carvings with the fascinated air of a demon- 

* Food, drink, sleep, love — all in moderation. 


Gringoire Has Several Bright Ideas 

strator of living phenomena — " For example," he said, " look 
at this bas-relief : do you not consider its execution a marvel 
of skill, delicacy, and patience ? Look at this small column : 
where would you find a capital whose leaves were more 
daintily entwined or more tenderly treated by the chisel? 
Here are three round alto-relievos by Jean Maillevin. They 
are not the finest examples of that great genius ; nevertheless, 
the childlike simplicity, the sweetness of the faces, the sportive 
grace of the attitudes and the draperies, and the indefinable 
charm which is mingled with all the imperfections, makes the 
little figures wonderfully airy and delicate — perhaps almost 
too much so. You do not find that diverting? " 

" Oh, yes," said the priest. 

" And if you were to see the interior of the chapel ! " con- 
tinued the poet with his loquacious enthusiasm. " Carvings 
everywhere — leafy as the heart of a cabbage ! The chancel 
is most devout in style and quite unique. Nowhere have I 
seen anything similar!" 

Dom Claude interrupted him: "You are happy, then?" 

" Upon my honour, yes ! " returned Gringoire rapturously. 
" I began by loving women, and went on to animals ; now I 
am in love with stones. It is quite as diverting as beasts or 
women, and less fickle." 

The priest passed his hand across his brow. The gesture 
was habitual with him. "Say you so?" 

" Look you," said Gringoire, " what joys are to be ex- 
tracted from it ! " He took the priest by the arm, who yielded 
passively, and led him into the stair turret of the For-l'Eveque. 
" Look at that stair ! Every time I see it it makes me happy. 
The style of that flight of steps is the simplest and most 
rare in Paris. Each step is sloped underneath. Its beauty 
and its simplicity consist in the fact of the steps, which are 
about a foot broad, being interlaced, mortised, jointed, linked, 
interwoven, and fitting into one another in a manner truly 
both firm and elegant." 

"And you long for nothing?" 

" No." 

" And you have no regrets ? " 

" Neither regrets nor desires. I have arranged my life to 
my satisfaction." 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

" What man arranges," said Claude, " circumstances may 

" I am a Pyrrhonian philosopher," returned Gringoire, 
" and I hold the equilibrium in everything." 
- " And how do you get your living ? " 

" I still write an epopee or a tragedy now and then ; but 
what brings me in the most is that industry in which you 
have already seen me engaged, master — carrying a pyramid 
of chairs in my teeth." 

" A gross occupation for a philosopher." 

" 'Tis always a form of equilibrium," returned Gringoire. 
" When one takes up an idea, one finds something of it 

" I know it," answered the Archdeacon. Then after a 
pause he went on : " Nevertheless, you are very poor ? " 

" Poor, yes ; unhappy, no." 

There was a clatter of horses' hoofs, and the two friends 
saw a company of the King's archers file past the end of 
the street, their lances high and an officer at their head. 
The cavalcade was brilliant, and the street echoed to their 

" How you look at that officer ! " said Gringoire to the 

" It is because I seem to know him." 

" What is his name ? " 

" I think," answered Claude, " it is Phoebus de Cha- 

" Phoebus ! a curious name that ! There is a Count of 
Foix called Phoebus. I remember that a girl I once knew 
never swore by any other name." 

" Come away," said the priest, " I have something to say 
to you." 

A certain degree of agitation was perceptible under the 
Archdeacon's glacial manner since the passing of the troop 
of soldiers. He started oflf walking, Gringoire following, 
accustomed to obey like all who once came under the influ- 
ence of that dominating personality. They proceeded in 
silence till they reached the Rue des Bernardins, which was 
well-nigh deserted. Here Dom Claude came to a standstill. 

" What have you to say to me, master? " asked Gringoire. 


Gringoire Has Several Bright Ideas 

" Do you not consider," answered the Archdeacon with 
an air of profound reflection, " that the attire of those cava- 
liers is handsomer than yours or mine ? " 

Gringoire shook his head. '' Faith, I prefer my red and 
yellow cloak to those iron and steel scales. Where's the pleas- 
ure of making- a noise when you walk like the Iron Wharf 
in an earthquake ? " 

" Then, Gringoire, you have never envied those fine fellows 
in their coats of mail ? " 

"Envied them for what. Monsieur the Archdeacon? Their 
strength, their arms, their discipline? Nay, give me phi- 
losophy and independence in rags. I'd rather be the head of 
a fly than the tail of a lion." 

" How singular ! " mused the priest, " A fine uniform is, 
nevertheless, a fine thing in its way." 

Gringoire seeing him immersed in thought, strolled away 
to admire the porch of a neighbouring house. He returned 
clapping his hands. 

" If you were less occupied with the fine habiliments of 
these warriors. Monsieur the Archdeacon, I would beg you 
to come and see this door. I have always declared that the 
house of the Sieur Aubry boasts the most superb entrance 
in the world ! " 

" Pierre Gringoire," said the Archdeacon, " what have you 
done with the little gipsy dancing girl ? " 

"Esmeralda, you mean? You have very abrupt changes 
of conversation." 

" Was she not your wife ? " 

" Yes, by grace of a broken pitcher. It was a four years' 
agreement, By-the-bye," Gringoire went on in a half banter- 
ing tone, " you still think of her, then ? " 

" And you — you think of her no longer ? " 

" Not much — I have so many other things. Lord, how 
pretty the little goat was ! " 

" Did not that Bohemian girl save your life?" 

" Pardieu— that's true ! " 

"Well, then, what has become of her? what have you 
done with her? " 

" I cannot tell you, I believe they hanged her." 

" You believe ? " 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

" I am not sure. As soon as I saw there was any ques- 
tion of hanging I kept out of the game." 

"And that is all you know about her?" 

" Stay ; I was told that she had taken refuge in Notre- 
Dame, and that she was in safety, and I'm sure I'm delighted ; 
but I was not able to discover whether the goat had escaped 
with her — and that is all I know about it." 

" Then I am going to tell you more," cried Dom Claude ; 
and his voice, till then low, deliberate, and hollow, rose to 
thunder. " She did find sanctuary in Notre-Dame, but in 
three days hence the law will drag her out again, and she 
will be hanged at the Greve. There is a decree of Parlia- 

" How very disappointing," said Gringoire. In an instant 
the priest had resumed his cold, grave demeanour. 

" And who the devil," continued the poet, '" has taken the 
trouble to solicit a decree of reintegration? Why couldn't 
they leave the Parliament alone? What harm can it do to 
any one for a poor girl to take shelter under the buttresses 
of Notre-Dame among the swallows' nests ? " 

" There are Satans in the world," replied the Archdeacon 

" Well, 'tis a devilish bad piece of work," observed 

" So she saved your life ? " the priest went on after a 

" Yes, among my good friends the vagabonds. A touch 
more, a shade less, and I should have been hanged. They 
would have been sorry for it now." 

" Will you then do nothing for her?" 

" I ask nothing better, Dom Claude ; but what if I bring 
an ugly bit of business about my ears ? " 

"What does it matter?" 

" Matter indeed ? You are very good, my dear master ! 
I have two great works just begun." 

The priest smote his forehead. Despite the calm he 
affected, a violent gesture from time to time betrayed his 
inward struggles. " How is she to be saved ? " 

"Master," said Gringoire, "I can give you an answer; 
* // padclt,' which is the Turkish for ' God is our hope.' " 


Gringoire Has Several Bright Ideas 

" How is she to be saved?" repeated Dom Claude, deep 
in thought. 

It was Gringoire's turn to smite his forehead. " Hark 
you, master, I have imagination. I will find you a choice 
of expedients. What if we entreated the King's mercy?" 

"Mercy? from Louis XI?" 

"Why not?" 

" Go ask the tiger for his bone ! " 

Gringoire racked his brain for fresh solutions. 

" Well, then — stay : how would it be to draw up a memorial 
from the midwives of the city declaring the girl to be 
pregnant? " 

The priest's sunken eyes glared savagely. " Pregnant ? 
Rascal, knowest thou anything of such a matter ? " 

Gringoire recoiled in alarm at his manner. He hastened 
to say, " Oh, not I indeed ! Our marriage was a regular foris 
maritagium. I am altogether outside of it. But at any rate, 
that would secure a respite." 

" Folly ! Infamy ! Hold thy peace ! " 

" You are wrong to be angry," said Gringoire reproach- 
fully. " We get a respite which does harm to nobody, and 
puts forty deniers parisis into the pockets of the midwives, 
who are poor women." 

The priest was not listening. " But she must be got out 
of there," he murmured. " The decree has to be carried out 
within three days — That Quasimodo ! Women have very 
depraved tastes ! " He raised his voice. " Maitre Pierre, I 
have thought it well over; there is but one means of sav- 
ing her." 

" And what is that? For my part I can suggest nothing." 

" Hark you, Maitre Pierre ; remember that you owe your 
life to her. I will impart my idea frankly to you. The church 
is watched night and day ; no one is allowed to come out who 
has not been seen to go in. Thus you can enter. You shall 
come ; I will take you to her. You will change clothes 
with her. She will take your doublet, you will take her petti- 

" So far so good," observed the philosopher. " And 

" After ? Why, she will go out in your clothes, and you 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

will stay there in hers. They will hang you, perhaps, but 
she will be saved." 

Gringoire scratched his ear with a very serious air. " Now 
that," said he, " is an idea that would never have occurred 
to me." 

At Dom Claude's unexpected proposal, the open and be- 
nign countenance of the poet became suddenly overcast, like 
a smiling landscape of Italy when a nasty squall of wind 
drives a cloud against the sun. 

" Well, Gringoire, what say you to this plan ? " 

" I say that they will not hang me perhaps, but that they 
will hang me indubitably." 

" That does not concern us," 

" The plague it doesn't ! " 

" She saved your life. It is a debt you ought to pay." 

" There is many another I don't pay." 

"Maitre Pierre, this must be done." The Archdeacon 
spoke imperiously. 

" Hark you, Dom Claude," returned the poet in consterna- 
tion. " You cling to that idea, but you are wrong. I see no 
reason why I should hang instead of another." 

" What is there to attract you so firmly to life ? " 

" Ah, a thousand things ! " 

" What, pray ? " 

" What ? — why, the air, the sky, the morning, the evening, 
moonlight, my good friends the vagabonds, our pranks with 
the women, the fine architecture of Paris to study, three 
important books to write — one of them against the bishop 
and his mills; oh, more than I can say. Anaxagoras said that 
he was in the world merely to admire the sun. And besides, 
I enjoy the felicity of passing the whole of my days, from 
morning till night, in the company of a man of genius — 
myself, to wit — and that is very agreeable." 

" Oh, empty rattle-pate ! " growled the Archdeacon. " And 
who, prithee, preserved to thee that life thou deemest so 
pleasant? Whose gift is it that thou art breathing the air, 
looking at the sky, hast still the power to divert thy feather- 
brained spirit with folly and nonsense? But for her, where 
wouldst thou be ? Thou wouldst let her die, then — her through 
whom thou livest? Let her die — that being so lovely, so 


Gringoire Has Several Bright Ideas 

sweet, so adorable — a creature necessary to the light of the 
world, more divine than God himself! whilst thou, half phi- 
losopher, half fool — mere outline of something, a species of 
vegetable that imagines it walks and thinks — thou wilt go on 
living with the life thou hast stolen from her, useless as a 
torch at noonday ? Come, Gringoire, a little pity ! be gen- 
erous in thy turn ; 'twas she that showed thee the way." 

The priest spoke vehemently. Gringoire listened at first 
with an air of indecision ; presently he was touched, and 
ended by making a tragic grimace which made his wan visage 
like that of a new-born infant with the colic. 

" You are in truth most pathetic," said he, wiping away 
a tear. " Well, I'll think on it — 'tis an odd idea of yours, 
that. After all," he pursued, after a moment's silence, " who 
knows ; may-be they would not hang me — 'tis not every 
betrothal that ends in marriage. When they find me in my 
hiding-place thus grotesquely disguised in coif and kirtle, 
it is very possible they will burst out laughing. On the other 
hand, even if they do hang me — well, the rope is a death 
like any other — nay, rather it is not a death like any other — 
it is a death worthy of a sage who has swung gently all his life 
between the extremes — a death which, like the mind of the 
true sceptic, is neither flesh nor fish ; a death thoroughly 
expressive of Pyrrhonism and hesitation, which holds the 
mean between heaven and earth, which holds you in sus- 
pension. 'Tis the death of a philosopher, and to which 
mayhap I was predestined. It is magnificent to die as one 
has lived ! " 

The priest interrupted him. "So it is a bargain, then?" 

" When all's said and done," pursued Gringoire with ex- 
altation, " what is death ? An uncomfortable moment — a toll- 
gate — the transit from little to nothing. Some one having 
asked Cercidas of Megalopolis whether he could die willingly, 
he replied, * Wherefore not ? for after my death I should see 
those great men : Pythagoras among the philosophers, Heca- 
tseus among the historians. Homer among the poets, Olympus 
among the musicians.' " 

The Archdeacon held out his hand. " It is settled, then ? 
You will come to-morrow ? " 

This action brought Gringoire down to the realities. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

" Faith no ! " said he in the tone of a man who awakens. 
" Let myself be hanged? — 'tis too absurd! I will not." 

" God be with you, then ! " and the Archdeacon muttered 
between his teeth, " We shall meet again ! " 

" I have no desire to meet that devil of a man again," 
thought Gringoire. He ran after Dom Claude. " Hark you, 
Monsieur the Archdeacon, no offence between old friends ! 
You are interested in this girl — my wife I mean — that's very 
well. You have devised a stratagem for getting her safely 
out of Notre-Dame, but your plan is highly unpleasant for 
me, Gringoire. If I only had another to suggest ! — Let me 
tell you that a most luminous inspiration has this instant 
come to me. How if I had a practicable scheme for extri- 
cating her from this tight place without exposing my own 
neck to the slightest danger of a slip-knot, what would you 
say? Would not that suffice you? Is it absolutely necessary 
that I should be hanged to satisfy you ? " 

The priest was tearing at the buttons of his soutane with 
impatience. " Oh, babbling stream of words ! Out with 
thy plan ! " 

" Yes," said Gringoire, speaking to himself and rubbing 
his nose with his. forefinger in sign of deep cogitation; " that's 
it ! The vagabonds are good-hearted fellows ! The tribe of 
Egypt loves her. They will rise at a word. Nothing easier, 
A surprise — and under cover of the disorder, carry her ofif — 
perfectly easily ! This very next night. Nothing would please 
them better." 

" The plan — speak ! " said the priest, shaking him. 

Gringoire turned to him majestically. 

"Let me be! see you not that I am composing?" He 
ruminated again for a few moments, then began to clap his 
hands at his thought. " Admirable ! " he cried, " an assured 
success ! " 

" The plan ! " repeated Claude, enraged. 

Gringoire was radiant. " Hist ! " said he, " let me tell it 
you in a whisper. 'Tis a counterplot that's really brilliant, 
and will get us all clear out of the afifair. Pardieu! you must 
admit that I'm no fool." 

He stopped short. " Ah, but the little goat — is she with 
the girl?" 


Turn Vagabond 

" Yes — yes — devil take thee ! go on ! " 

" They would hang her too, would they not ? " 

" What's that to me ? " 

" Yes, they would hang her. They hanged a sow last 
month, sure enough. The hangman likes that — he eats the 
beast afterward. Hang my pretty Djali ! Poor sweet lamb! " 

" A murrain on thee ! " cried Dom Claude. " 'Tis thou 
art the hangman. What plan for saving her hast thou found, 
rascal? Must thou be delivered of thy scheme with the 
forceps ? " 

" Gently, master. This is it." Gringoire bent to the 
Archdeacon's ear and spoke very low, casting an anxious 
glance up and down the street, in which, however, there was 
not a soul to be seen. When he had finished, Dom Claude 
touched his hand and said coldly : " 'Tis well. Till to-mor- 
row, then." 

" Till to-morrow," repeated Gringoire, and while the Arch- 
deacon retreated in one direction, he went ofif in the other, 
murmuring to himself : " This is a nice business, M. Pierre 
Gringoire ! Never mind, it's not to say because one's of 
small account one need be frightened at a great undertaking. 
Biton carried a great bull on his shoulders ; wagtails and 
linnets cross the ocean." 



The Archdeacon, on returning to the cloister, found his 
brother, Jehan of the Mill, watching for him at the door of 
his cell, having whiled away the tediousness of waiting by 
drawing on the wall with a piece of charcoal a profile portrait 
of his elder brother enriched by a nose of preposterous 

Dom Claude scarcely glanced at his brother. He had 
other things to think of. That laughing, scampish face, whose 
beams had so often lifted the gloom from the sombre coun- 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

tenance of the priest, had now no power to dissipate the 
mists that gathered ever more thickly over that festering, 
mephitic, stagnant soul, 

" Brother," Jehan began timidly, " I have come to 
see you." 

The Archdeacon did not even glance at him. "Well?" 

" Brother," continued the little hypocrite, " you are so 
good to me, and you bestow upon me such excellent advice, 
that I always come back to you." 

"What further?" 

" Alas, brother, you were very right when you said to me : 
' Jehan ! Jehan ! cessat doctoriim doctrina, discipidorum disciplina. 
Jehan, be staid ; Jehan, be studious ; Jehan, spend not thy 
nights outside the college without lawful occasion and leave 
of the masters. Come not to blows with the Picards — noli, 
Joannes, verbe rare Picardos. Lie not rotting like an unlettered 
ass — quasi asinus illiteratus — among the straw of the schools, 
Jehan, let thyself be chastised at the discretion of the master. 
Jehan, go every evening to chapel and sing an anthem with 
verse and prayer in praise of Our Lady the Virgin Mary.' 
Alas ! how excellent was that advice ! " 

"And then?" 

" Brother, you see before you a guilty wretch, a miscreant, 
a profligate, a monster! My dear brother, Jehan has used 
your counsel as mere straw and dung to be trodden under 
foot. Well am I chastised for it, and the heavenly Father is 
extraordinarily just. So long as I had money I spent it in 
feasting, folly, and profligacy. Ah, how hideous and vile is 
the back view of debauchery compared with the smiling 
countenance she faces us with ! Now I have not a single 
sou left ; I've sold my coverlet, my shirt, and my towel — no 
merry life for me any longer ! The fair taper is extinguished, 
and nothing remains to me but its villainous snuff that stinks 
in my nostrils. The girls make mock of me. I drink water. 
I am harassed by remorse and creditors." 

" The end?" said the Archdeacon. 

" Ah, best of brothers, I would fain lead a better life. I 
come to you full of contrition. I am penitent. I acknowl- 
edge my sins. I beat my breast with heavy blows. You are 
very right to desire that I should one day become a licentiate 


Vive la Joie 

and sub-monitor of the College de Torchi. I now feel a 
remarkable vocation for that office. But I have no more ink 
left — I shall be obliged to buy some; I have no pens left — 
I must buy some ; no more paper, no books — I must buy 
them. For that purpose I am sorely in need of the financial 
wherewithal. And I come to you, my brother, with a heart 
fuh of contrition." 

"Is that all?" 

" Yes," said the scholar. " A little money." 

" I have none." 

The scholar assumed an air of gravity and resolution : 
" Very good, brother, then I am sorry to have to inform you 
that I have received from other quarters very advantageous 
offers and proposals. You will not give me any money? 
No? In that case I shall turn Vagabond." And with this 
portentous word he adopted the mien of an Ajax awaiting 
the lightning. 

The Archdeacon answ ered, unmoved : 

" Then turn Vagabond." 

Jehan made him a profound bow, and descended the 
cloister stair-case, whistling. 

As he passed through the court-yard of the cloister under 
his brother's window, he heard that window open, looked up, 
and saw the Archdeacon's stern countenance leaning out of it. 
" Get thee to the devil ! " called Dom Claude ; " here is the 
last money thou shalt have of me." 

So saving, the priest tossed down a purse to Jehan, which 
raised a large bump on his forehead, and with which he set 
ofif, at once angry and delighted, like a dog that has been 
pelted with marrow-bones. 



The reader may perhaps remember that a portion of the 
Court of Miracles was enclosed by the ancient wall of the 

S 399 Vol. 4 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

city, a good many towers of which were beginning at that 
time to fall into decay. One of these towers had been con- 
verted by the truands into a place of entertainment, with a 
tavern in the basement, and the rest in the upper storeys. 
This tower was the most animated, and consequently the most 
hideous, spot in the whole \'agabond quarter — a monstrous 
hive, buzzing day and night. At night, when the rest of the 
rabble were asleep — when not a lighted window was to be 
seen in the squalid fronts of the houses round the Place, when 
all sound had ceased in the innumerable tenements with their 
swarms of thieves, loose women, stolen or bastard children — 
the joyous tower could always be distinguished by the uproar 
that issued from it, and by the crimson glow of light stream- 
ing out from the loopholes, the windows, the fissures in the 
gaping walls, escaping, as it were, from every pore. 

The tavern, as we have said, was in the basement. The 
descent to it was through a low door and down a steep, 
narrow stair. Over the door, by way of sign, hung an ex- 
traordinary daub representing new-coined sols and dead fowls, 
with the punning legend underneath, Aux somieurs* pour Ics 
trcpasses! — The ringers for the dead. 

One evening, when the curfew was ringing from all the 
steeples of Paris, the sergeants of the watch, could they have 
entered the redoubtable Court of Miracles, might have re- 
marked that a greater hubbub than usual was going on in 
the tavern of the Vagabonds ; that they were drinking deeper 
and swearing harder. Without, in the Place, were a number 
of groups conversing in low tones, as when some great plot 
is brewing, and here and there some fellow crouched down 
and sharpened a villainous iron blade on a flag-stone. 

Meanwhile, in the tavern itself, wine and gambling formed 
so strong a diversion to the ideas that occupied the Vaga- 
bonds, that it would have been difficult to gather from the 
conversation of the drinkers what the matter was which so 
engaged them. Only they wore a gayer air than usual, and 
every one of them had some weapon or other gleaming 
between his knees — a pruning-hook, an axe, a broadsword, 
or the crook of some ancient blunderbuss. 

* Slang term for ready money, hard cash. 

Vive la Joie 

The hall, which was circular in form, was very spacious; 
but the tables were so crowded together and the drinkers 
so numerous, that the whole contents of the tavern — men, 
women, benches, tankards, drinkers, sleepers, gamblers, the 
able-bodied and the crippled — seemed thrown pell-mell to- 
gether, with about as much order and harmony as a heap of 
oyster-shells. A few tallow candles guttered on the table ; but 
the real source of light to the tavern, that which sustained in 
the cabaret the character of the chandelier in an opera-house, 
was the fire. This cellar was so damp that the fire was never 
allowed to go out, even in the height of summer ; an immense 
fire-place with a carved chimney-piece, and crowded with 
heavy andirons and cooking utensils, contained one of those 
huge fires of wood and turf which in a village street at night 
cast the deep red glow of the forge windows on the opposite 
wall. A great dog, gravely seated in the ashes, was turning 
a spit hung with meat. 

In spite of the prevailing confusion, after the first glance 
three principal groups might be singled out, pressing round 
the several personages already known to the reader. One of 
these personages, fantastically bedizened with many an Ori- 
ental gaud, was Mathias Hungadi Spicali, Duke of Egypt and 
Bohemia. The old rogue was seated cross-legged on a table, 
his finger upraised, exhibiting in a loud voice his skill in 
white and black magic to many an open-mouthed face that 
surrounded him. 

Another crowd was gathered thick round our old friend 
the King of Tunis, armed to the teeth. Clopin Trouillefou, 
with a very serious mien and in a low voice, was superin- 
tending the ransacking of an enormous cask full of arms 
staved open before him and disgorging a profusion of axes, 
swords, firelocks, coats of mail, lance and pike heads, cross- 
bows and arrows, like apples and grapes from a cornucopia. 
Each one took something from the heap — one a morion, 
another a rapier, a third a cross-hilted dagger. The very 
children were arming, and even the worst cripples, mere 
torsos of men, all barbed and cuirassed, were crawling about 
among the legs of the drinkers like so many great beetles. 

And lastly, a third audience — much the noisiest, most 
jovial, and numerous of the lot — crowded the benches and 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

tables, listening to the haranguing and swearing of a flute- 
like voice which proceeded from a figure dressed in a com- 
plete suit of heavy armour from casque to spurs. The indi- 
vidual thus trussed up in full panoply was so buried under 
his warlike accoutrements that nothing of his person was 
visible but an impudent tip-tilted nose, a lock of golden hair, 
a rosy mouth, and a pair of bold blue eyes. His belt bristled 
with daggers and poniards, a large sword hung at one side, 
a rusty cross-bow at the other, a vast jug of wine stood 
before him, and in his right arm he held a strapping wench 
with uncovered bosom. Every mouth in his neighbourhood 
was laughing, drinking, swearing. 

Add to these twenty minor groups ; the serving men and 
women running to and fro with wine and beer-cans on their 
heads, the players absorbed in the various games of hazard — 
billes (a primitive form of billiards), dice, cards, backgammon, 
the intensely exciting " tringlet " (a form of spilikins), quar- 
rels in one corner, kisses in another — and some idea may be 
formed of the scene, over which flickered the light of the 
great blazing fire, setting a thousand grotesque and enormous 
shadows dancing on the tavern walls. 

As to the noise — the place might have been the inside of a 
bell in full peal, while any intervals that might occur in the 
hubbub were filled by the spluttering of the dripping-pan in 
front of the fire. 

In the midst of all this uproar, on a bench inside the fire- 
place, a philosopher sat and meditated, with his feet in the 
ashes and his eyes fixed on the blaze. It was Pierre 

" Now, then, look alive, arm yourselves — we march in an 
hour ! " said Clopin Trouillefou to his rascals. 

A girl sang a snatch of song : 

" Father and mother dear, good-night ; 
The last to go put out the light." 

Two card-players were disputing. " Knave ! " cried the 
reddest-faced of the two, shaking his fist at the other, " I'll 
so mark thee thou mightest take the place of knave of clubs 
in our lord the King's own pack of cards ! " 

" Ouf ! " roared one, whose nasal drawl betrayed him as 


Vive la Joie 

a Norman ; " we are packed together here like the saints 
of Caillouville ! " 

" Children," said the Duke of Egypt to his audience in a 
falsetto voice, " the witches of France go to the Sabbaths 
without ointment, or broomsticks, or any other mount, by a 
few magic words only. The witches of Italy have always a 
goat in readiness at the door. All are bound to go up 
the chimney." 

The voice of the young scamp armed cap-a-pie dominated 
the hubbub. 

" Noel ! Noel ! " he cried. " My first day in armour ! A 
Vagabond ! I'm a Vagabond, body of Christ ! pour me some 
wine ! My friends, my name is Jehan Frollo of the Mill, and 
I'm a gentleman. It's my opinion that if the Almighty were 
a man-at-arms he'd turn robber. Brothers, we are bound on 
a great expedition. We are doughty men. Lay siege to the 
church, break in the doors, bring out the maid, save her from 
the judges, save her from the priests, dismantle the cloister, 
burn the bishop in his house — we'll do all this in less time 
than it takes a burgomaster to eat a mouthful of soup. Our 
cause is a righteous one — we loot Notre-Dame, and there you 
are ! We'll hang Quasimodo. Are you acquainted with 
Quasimodo, fair ladies? Have you seen him snorting on the 
back of the big bell on a day of high festival ? Come du Pere! 
'tis a grand sight — you'd say it was a devil astride a gaping 
maw. Hark ye, my friends ; I am a truand to the bottom of 
my heart, I am Argotier to the soul, I'm a born Cagou. I 
was very rich, but I've spent all I had. My mother wanted 
to make me an officer, my father a subdeacon, my aunt a 
criminal councillor, my grandmother a protonotary, but I 
made myself a Vagabond. I told my father so, and he spat 
his curse in my face; my mother, the good old lady, fell to 
weeping and spluttering like the log in that fire-place. So 
hey for a merry life ! I'm a whole madhouse in myself. Land- 
lady, my duck, some more wine — I've got some money left 
yet, but no more of that Suresnes, it rasps my throat. Why, 
corbocuf, it's like garghng with a basket ! " 

The crowd received his every utterance with yells of 
laughter, and seeing that the uproar was increasing round 
him, the scholar cried : " O glorious uproar ! Popull dehacchantis 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

papulosa debaccJiafio! " and set off singing, his eyes swimming 
in apparent ecstasy, in the tone of a canon chanting vespers : 
" Quce cantica! qua orgaiia! qua: cantilena! qua melodia hie 
sine fine decantantur ! sonant melMua hymnomm organa, suavissi- 
ma angclorum melodia, cantica canticorum niira." * 

He broke off. " Hey there — devil's own landlady — give 
me some supper ! " 

There was a moment almost of silence, during which the 
strident voice of the Duke of Egypt was heard instructing his 
Bohemians : 

" — The weasel goes by the name of Aduine, the fox is 
Bluefoot or Woodranger, the wolf, Grayfoot or Giltfoot, the 
bear. Old Man, or Grandfather. The cap of a gnome renders 
one invisible and makes one see invisible things. When a 
toad is baptized it should be clad in velvet — red or black — a 
bell at its neck, a bell on its foot. The godfather holds the 
head, the godmother the hinder parts. It is the demon 
Sidragasum that has the power of making girls dance naked." 

" By the mass ! " broke in Jehan, " I would I were a demon 

All this time the truands had been steadily arming them- 
selves at the other side of the tavern, whispering to one 

" Poor Esmeralda ! " said a gipsy. " She is our sister. 
We must get her out of that ! " 

" Is she there still in Notre-Dame ? " asked a Jewish- 
looking huckster. 

" Yes, by God ! " 

" Well, comrades," exclaimed the huckster, " to Notre- 
Dame, then! All the more because in the chapel of Saints 
Fereol and Ferrution there are two statues, one of Saint-John 
the Baptist and the other of Saint-Anthony, both of pure gold, 
weighing together seven gold marks and fifteen esterlins.f 
and the pedestals of silver-gilt weigh seventeen marks five 
ounces. I know it — I am a goldsmith." 

* What chants ! what instruments ! what songs and melodies without 
end are sung here ! Hymns from mellifluous pipes are sounding, sweetest 
of angels' melodies, the most wonderful song of all songs. 

f Obsolete goldsmith weight of 28^ grains. 


Vive la Joie 

Here they served Jehan's supper. He lolled on the bosom 
of the girl beside him. " By Saint-Voult-de-Lucques, called 
familiarly Saint-Goguelu, now I'm perfectly happy ! " he cried. 
" Here in front of me I see a blockhead with the beardless 
face of an archduke. On my left is another with teeth so 
long they hide his chin. Body of Mahomet ! Comrade ! thou 
hast all the appearance of a draper, and hast the effrontery 
to come and sit by me ! I am noble, my friend, and trade 
is incompatible wath nobility. Get thee farther off. Hola, 
you there! no fighting! How now! Baptiste Croque-Oison, 
wouldst risk that splendid nose of thine under the gross fists 
of yonder bumpkin ! Imbecile ! Non cuiquam datum est habere 
nasnm* Truly thou art divine, Jacqueline Rouge-Oreille! 
pity 'tis thou hast no hair. Hola ! My name's Jehan Frollo, 
and mv brother's an archdeacon — may the devil fly away with 
him ! Every word I tell you is the truth. By turning Vagabond, 
I have cheerfully renounced the half of a house situate in 
paradise promised me by my brother — dimidem donum in para- 
diso — I quote the very words. I've a property in the Rue 
Tirechappe, and all the women run after me — as true as it's 
true that Saint-Eligius was an excellent goldsmith, and that 
the five trades of the good city of Paris are the tanners, the 
leather-dressers, the baldrick-makers, the purse-makers, and the 
leather-scourers, and that Saint-Laurence was burned with 
hot egg-shells. I swear to you, comrades, 

' For a full year I'll taste no wine 
If this be any lie of mine ! ' 

" My charmer, 'tis moonlight ; look through that loophole 
how the wind rumples the clouds — just as I do with thy 
kerchief. Girls, snufif the children and the candles. Christ 
and Mahomet! what am I eating now? Hey there, old jade! 
the hairs that are missing from the heads of thy trulls we 
find in the omelets! Hark ye, old lady, I prefer my omelets 
bald. May the devil flatten thy nose ! A line tavern of Beel- 
zebub, in sooth, where the wenches comb themselves with 
the forks ! " 

* It is not given to every one to have a nose. 

Notre-Dame de Paris 

With which he smashed his plate on the floor and began 
singing in an car-spHtting voice : 

" By the blood of Christ, 
I lay no store 
By faith or law, 
Neither hearth nor home 
Do I call my own, 
Nor God, 
Nor King ! " 

By this time Clopin Trouillefou had finished distributing 
his arms. Approaching Gringoire, who seemed plunged in 
profound reverie, his feet on a log : 

" Friend Pierre," said the King of Tunis, " what the 
devil art thinking about ? " 

Gringoire turned to him with a melancholy smile. " I 
love the fire^ my dear sir. Not for the trivial reason that it 
warms our feet and cooks our soup, but because it throws 
out sparks. Sometimes I pass whole hours watching the 
sparks. I discover a host of things in those stars that 
sprinkle the dark background of the fire-place. Those stars 
are worlds." 

" The fiend take me if I understand thee," said the Vaga- 
bond. " Dost thou know what's o'clock ? " 

" I do not," answered Gringoire. Clopin went to the 
Duke of Egypt. 

" Comrade Mathias, the moment is ill-chosen. They say 
King Louis is in Paris." 

" All the more need for getting our sister out of his 
clutches," answered the old Bohemian, 

" You speak like a man, Mathias," returned the King of 
Tunis. " Besides, it will be an easy matter. There's no re- 
sistance to fear in the church. The priests are so many hares, 
and we are in full force. The men of the Parliament wnll 
be finely balked to-morrow when they come to fetch her! 
By the bowels of the Pope, they shall not hang the pretty 
creature ! " 

Clopin then left the tavern. 

In the meantime Jehan was shouting hoarsely : " I drink 
— I eat — I'm drunk — I am Jupiter ! Ah, Pierre I'Assommeur, 


Vive la Joie 

if thou glarest at me again in that manner, I'll dust thy nose 
with my fist ! " 

Gringoire, on his part, aroused from his meditations, was 
contemplating the wild scene of license and uproar around 
him, while he murmured to himself : " Luxtiriosa res vinmn ct 
tumuhuosa ebrictas. * Ah, how wise am I to eschew drink- 
ing, and how excellent is the saying of Saint-Benedict : Vinuni 
apostatarc facit cfiaui sapicntcs! " f 

At this moment Clopin returned and shouted in a voice 
of thunder, *' Midnight ! " 

The word acted on the fruands like the order to mount 
on a regiment, and the entire band — men, women, and chil- 
dren — poured out of the tavern with a great clatter of arms 
and iron. The moon was obscured. The Court of Miracles 
lay in utter darkness — not a single light was to be seen, 
but it was far from being deserted. A great crowd of men 
and women stood in the Place talking to one another in low 
voices. There was a continuous deep hum, and many a 
weapon flashed in the gloom. 

Clopin mounted on a great stone. " To your ranks, 
Argot ! " cried he. " To your ranks, Egypt ! To your ranks, 

A movement ran through the darkness. The vast multi- 
tude seemed to be forming in columns. After a few minutes 
the King of Tunis once more lifted up his voice : 

" Now, then, silence on the march through Paris ! The 
password is ' Dagger in pouch.' Torches not to be lighted 
till we reach Notre-Dame ! March ! " 

Ten minutes later the horsemen of the night-watch were 
fleeing in terror before a long procession, black and silent, 
pouring down towards the Pont-au-Change through the tor- 
tuous streets that run in every direction through the dense 
quarter of the Halles. 

* A dissolute thing is wine and leads to noisy intoxication, 
f The avoiding of wine also makes a man wise. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 


Quasimodo on that night was not asleep. He had just 
gone his last round through the church. He had failed to 
remark that at the moment when he was closing the doors 
the Archdeacon had passed near him and evinced some annoy- 
ance at seeing" him bolt and padlock with care the enormous 
iron bars which gave the wide doors the solidity of a wall. 
Dom Claude seemed even more preoccupied than usual. 
Moreover, since the nocturnal adventure in the cell, he treated 
Quasimodo with constant unkindness ; but in vain he used 
him harshly, sometimes even striking him — nothing could 
shake the submissive patience, the devoted resignation of the 
faithful bell-ringer. From the Archdeacon he would endure 
anything — abuse, threats, blows — without a murmur of re- 
proach, without even a sigh of complaint. The utmost that 
he did was to follow Dom Claude with an anxious eye if he 
mounted the stair of the tower ; but the Archdeacon had of 
himself abstained from appearing again before the gipsy girl. 

That night, then, Quasimodo, after a glance at his poor 
forsaken bells, Jacqueline, Marie, Thibauld, had ascended to 
the top of the northern tower, and there, after setting down 
his dark-lantern on the leads, he fell to contemplating Paris. 
The night, as we have said, was very dark. Paris, which, 
speaking broadly, was not lighted at all at that period, pre- 
sented to the eye a confused mass of black blots, cut here 
and there by the pale windings of the river. Quasimodo saw 
not a light except in the window of a distant edifice, whose 
vague and sombre outline was distinguishable high above the 
roofs in the direction of the Porte Saint-Antoine. Here, too, 
some one kept vigil. 

While his eye thus lingered over the dark and misty 
scene, the bell-ringer felt an indescribable sense of anxiety 
rising within him. For several davs he had been on the 
watch. He had constantly noticed men of sinister aspect 
loitering round the church and never taking their eyes oflf 
the gipsy girl's hiding-place. He feared le^i some plot should 


An Awkward Friend 

be hatching against the unfortunate refugee. He conceived 
her to be an object of popular hatred, as he was hiniseU', and 
that something might very well be going to happen in the 
immediate future. Thus he remained on his tower on the 
lookout — " Revant dans son revoir " — Musing in his musery — 
as Rabelais says, his eye by turns on the cell and on Paris, 
keeping safe watch, like a trusty dog, with a thousand suspi- 
cions in his mind. 

All at once, while he was reconnoitring the great city with 
that solitary eye which nature, as if by way of compensation, 
had made so piercing that it almost supplied the deficiency 
of other organs in Quasimodo, it struck him that there was 
something unusual in the appearance of the outline of the 
quay of the Veille Pelleterif", that there was some movement 
at this point, that the line of the parapet which stood out 
black against the whiteness of tln^ water^was not straight and 
still like that of the other quays, butlTTat it appeared to undu- 
late like the waves of a river or the heads of a crowd 
in motion. 

He thought this very peculiar. He redoubled his atten- 
tion. The movement appeared to be coming towards the city 
— not a light, however. It lasted some time on the quay, and 
then flowed away by degrees, as if whatever was passing 
along was entering the interior of the island ; then it ceased 
altogether, and the line of the quay returned to its wonted 
straightness and immobility. 

Just as Quasimodo was exhausting himself in conjectures, 
it seemed to him that the movement was reappearing in the 
Rue du Parvis, which runs into the city in a straight line 
with the front of Notre-Dame. At last, despite the great 
darkness, he could descry the head of a column issuing from 
that street, and the next instant a crowd spreading out into 
the square, of which he could distinguish nothing further 
than that it was a crowd. 

It was a fear-compelling spectacle. No doubt this strange 
procession, which seemed so anxious to cloak itself under 
the profound darkness, preserved a silence no less profound. 
Still, some sound must have escaped from it, were it only 
the tramp of feet. But even this sound did not reach the 
deaf hunchback, and the great multitude, which he could only 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

dimly see, but which he heard not at all, moving so near him, 
seemed to him like an assemblage of the dead — mute, ghostly 
shapes, hovering in a mist — shadows in a shade. 

Then his former fears returned ; the idea of an attempt 
against the gipsy girl presented itself once more to his mind. 
He had a vague premonition of some violent situation ap- 
proaching. At this critical moment he held counsel with 
himself, reasoning with greater acumen and promptness than 
would have been expected from so ill-organized a brain. 
Should he awaken the gipsy girl? — help her to escape? 
Which way? The streets were blocked, the church was 
backed by the river — no boat — no egress. There remained 
but one thing therefore — to face death on the threshold of 
Notre-Dame ; to hold them ofif at least until assistance came, 
supposing there were any to come, and not to disturb the 
slumbers of Esmeralda. The unhappy girl would always 
be awakened early enough to die. This resolution once 
taken, he proceeded to observe " the enemy " with greater 

The crowd in the Parvis appeared to be increasing mo- 
mentarily ; though, seeing that the windows of the streets and 
the Place remained closed, he concluded that they could not 
be making much noise. Suddenly a light shone out, and in an 
instant seven or eight torches were waving above the heads, 
tossing their plumes of flame through the darkness. By their 
light Quasimodo had a clear vision of an appalling band of 
tatterdemalions — men and women — flocking into the Parvis, 
armed with scythes, pikes, pruning-forks, partisans — their 
thousand blades glittering as they caught the fitful light — 
and here and there black pitchforks furnishing horns to these 
hideous visages. He had a confused remembrance of that 
populace, and thought to recognise in them the crowd which 
but a few months before had acclaimed him Pope of Fools. 
A man holding a torch in one hand and a birch rod in the other 
was mounted on a corner post and apparently haranguing 
the multitude, and at the same time the ghostly army per- 
formed some evolutions as if taking up a position round the 
church. Quasimodo picked up his lantern and descended to 
the platform between the towers to observe more closely and 
deliberate on the means of defence. 


An Awkward Friend 

Arrived in front of the great door of Notre-Dame, Clopin 
Trouillcfou had in fact drawn up his troops in battle array. 
Though anticipating no resistance, yet, hke a prudent gen- 
eral, he determined to preserve so much order as would, in 
case of need, enable him to face a sudden attack of the watch 
or the city guard. Accordingly, he had so disposed his bri- 
gade that, seen from above and at a distance, it might have 
been taken for the Roman triangle at the battle of Ecnoma, 
the boar's head of Alexander, or the famous wedge of Gustavus 
Adolphus. The base of this triangle ran along the back of 
the Place in such a manner as to bar the Rue du Parvis, 
one side looked towards the Hotel-Dieu, the other towards 
the Rue Saint-Pierre aux Bceufs. Clopin Trouillefou had 
posted himself at the point with the Duke of Egypt, our friend 
Jehan, and the boldest of the beggar tribe. 

An enterprise such as the truands were now attempting 
against Notre-Dame was by no means an uncommon occur- 
rence in the Middle Ages. What we now call " police " did 
not then exist. In the populous cities, particularly in the 
capitals, there was no united central power regulating the 
whole. Feudalism had shaped these great municipalities after 
an absurd fashion. A city was a collection of innumerable 
seigneuries, cutting it up into divisions of all shapes and sizes ; 
hence its crowd of contradictory police establishments, or 
rather no police at all. In Paris, for instance, independently 
of the hundred and forty-one feudal lords claiming manorial 
dues, there were twenty-five claiming justiciary and manorial 
rights, from the Bishop of Paris, who possessed a hundred 
and five streets, to the Prior of Notre-Dame des Champs, who 
had only four. All these feudal justiciaries recognised only 
nominally the paramount authority of the King. All exer- 
cised right of highway, all were their own masters. Louis XI 
— that indefatigable workman, who commenced on so large 
a scale the demolition of the feudal edifice, continued by Riche- 
lieu and Louis XIV to the advantage of royalty, and com- 
pleted by Mirabeau to the advantage of the people — Louis XI 
had done his utmost to break up this network of seigneuries 
which covered Paris, by casting violently athwart it two or 
three ordinances of general police. Thus, in 1465, we find 
the inhabitants ordered to put lighted candles in their win- 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

dows at nightfall, and to shut up their dogs on pain of the 
halter ; in the same year, the order to bar the streets at night 
with iron chains, and the prohibition against their carrying 
daggers or any other offensive weapon in the streets at night. 
But in a short time all these attempts at municipal legislation 
fell into disuse ; the citizens let the candles at their windows 
be extinguished by the wind and their dogs roam at large; 
the iron chains were only stretched across the street in case 
of siege, and the prohibition against carrying weapons brought 
about no other changes than converting the Rue Coupe-Gueule 
into Coupe-Gorge ; which, to be sure, is a clear evidence of 
progress. The old framework of the feudal jurisdictions re- 
mained standing — an immense accumulation of bailiwicks and 
seigneuries, crossing one another in all directions through the 
length and breadth of the city, embarrassing, entangling, 
overlapping one another — a useless thicket of watches, 
counter-watches, and out-watches, through the very midst of 
which stalked brigandage, rapine, and sedition, sword in hand. 
Under such condition of disorder, therefore, it excited no 
very great remark if a part of the populace laid violent hands 
on a palace, a mansion, or any ordinary dwelling-house in 
the most populated quarters of the city. In most cases the 
neighbours did not interfere in the matter unless the plunder- 
ing extended to themselves. They stopped their ears to the 
report of the musketry, closed their shutters, barricaded their 
doors, and let the struggle exhaust itself with or without the 
assistance of the watch, and the next day it would be quietly 
said in Paris : " Last night fitienne Barbette's house was 
broken into," or " The Marshal de Clermont was attacked," 
etc. Hence, not only the royal residences, the Louvre, the 
Palais, the Bastille, the Tournelles, but the mansions of the 
nobility, such as the Petit-Bourbon, the Hotel de Sens, the 
Hotel d'Angouleme, and so on, had their battlemented walls 
and their fortified turrets over the entrances. The churches 
were protected by their sanctity. Some of them, nevertheless 
— among which was not Notre-Dame — were fortified. The 
Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres was castellated like a ba- 
ronial mansion, and more copper had been used there for 
bombards than for bells. These fortifications were still to be 
seen in 1610; now scarcely the church remains. 


An Awkward Friend 

But to return to Notre-Dame. 

The first arrangements completed — and it must be said, 
to the honour of the trnand discipline, that Clopin's orders 
were carried out in silence and with admirable precision — 
the worthy leader mounted the parapet of the Parvis, turned 
his face to Notre-Dame, and raising his harsh and churlish 
voice while he shook his torch — the light of which flaring in 
the wind and veiled at intervals by its own smoke, made the 
dark front of the Cathedral vanish and reappear by turns — 

" Unto thee," he cried, " Louis de Beaumont, Bishop of 
Paris, Councillor in the Court of Parliament, thus say I, 
Clopin Trouillefou, King of Tunis, Grand Coesre, Prince of 
Argot, Bishop of the Fools : Our sister, falsely condemned 
for witchcraft, has taken refuge in thy church. Thou art 
bound to accord her shelter and safeguard ; but now the Par- 
liament designs to take her thence, and thou consentest there- 
unto, so that she would be hanged to-morrow at the Greve 
if God and the truands were not at hand. We come to thee, 
then, Bishop. If thy church is sacred, our sister is so too ; 
if our sister is not sacred, neither is thy church. Wherefore 
we summon thee to give up the maid if thou wouldst save thy 
church, or we will take the maid ourselves and plunder the 
church : which will most certainly happen. In token whereof 
I here set up my banner. And so God help thee. Bishop 
of Paris ! " 

Unfortunately Quasimodo could not hear these words, 
which were delivered with a sort of savage and morose dignity. 
A Vagabond handed Clopin his banner, which he gravely 
planted between two paving-stones. It was a pitchfork on 
which hung a gory piece of carrion. 

This done, the King of Tunis turned about and cast his 
eye over his army, a ferocious multitude whose eyes gleamed 
almost as savagely as their pikes. After a moment's pause 
— " Forward, lads ! " he cried. " To your work, house- 
breakers ! " 

Thirty thick-set, strong-limbed men with hammers, pincers, 
and iron crowbars on their shoulders, stepped from the ranks. 
They advanced towards the main entrance of the church, 
ascended the steps, and immediately set to work on the door 
with pincers and levers. A large party of truands followed 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

them to assist or- look on, so that the whole flight of eleven 
steps was crowded with them. 

The door, however, held firm. " The devil ! but she's 
hard and headstrong ! " said one. " She's old, and her gris- 
tle's tough!" said another. "Courage, comrades!" said 
Clopin. " I wager my head against a slipper that you'll have 
burst the door, got the maid, and stripped the high altar 
before ever there's a beadle of them all awake. There — I 
believe the lock's going." 

Clopin was interrupted by a frightful noise which at that 
moment resounded behind him. He turned round. An 
enormous beam had just fallen from on high, crushing a dozen 
truands on the steps of the church and rebounding on to the 
pavement with the noise of a piece of artillery, breaking here 
and there the legs of others among the Vagabond crowd, which 
fled in all directions with cries of terror. In a trice the 
enclosure of the Parvis was empty. The door-breakers-, 
though protected by the deep arches of the doorway, aban- 
doned it, and Clopin himself fell back to a respectful distance 
from the church. 

" Tcte-bccuf ! I had a narrow escape!" cried Jehan. "I 
felt the wind of it ; but Pierre the Fellei is felled at last." 

It would be impossible to describe the mingled astonish- 
ment and alarm that fell with this beam upon the bandit 
crew. They remained for a few minutes gazing open-mouthed 
into the air, in greater consternation at this piece of wood 
than at twenty thousand King's archers, 

" Satan ! " growled the Duke of Egypt, " but this smells 
of magic ! " 

" It's the moon that's thrown this log at us," said Andry 
le Rouge. 

" That's it," returned Francois Chanteprune, " for they say 
the moon's the friend of the Virgin." 

" A thousand popes ! " cried Clopin, " you're a parcel of 
dunderheads, the whole lot of you ! " But he knew no better 
than they how to account for the beam, for nothing was per- 
ceptible on the front of the building, to the top of which the 
light of the torches could not reach. The ponderous beam 
lay in the middle of the Parvis, and the groans of the poor 
wretches could be heard who had received its first shock and 


An Awkward Friend 

had been almost cut in two on the sharp edges of the 
stone steps. 

At last the King of Tunis, his first surprise past, discov- 
ered an explanation which seemed plausible to his fellows. 

" Gticidc-Dicii! Can the clergy be making a defence? If 
that be so, then — to the sack ! to the sack ! " 

" To the sack ! " yelled the band with a furious hurrah, 
and discharged a volley of cross-bows and arquebuses against 
the fagade of the Cathedral. 

Roused by the detonation, the peaceable inhabitants of 
the surrounding houses awoke, several windows opened, and 
nightcapped heads appeared at the casements. 

" Fire at the windows ! " shouted Clopin. The shutters 
closed on the instant, and the poor citizens, who had only 
had time to catch a bewildered glimpse of the scene of glare 
and tumult, returned in a cold perspiration of fright to their 
wives, w^ondering whether the witches now held their Sab- 
baths in the Parvis of Notre-Dame, or whether it was another 
assault by the Burgundians, as in '64. The men thought of 
robbery ; the wives, of rape ; and all trembled. 

" To the sack ! " repeated the Argotiers ; but they did not 
venture closer. They looked from the Cathedral to the mys- 
terious beam. The beam lay perfectly still, the church pre- 
served its peaceful, solitary aspect; but something froze the 
courage of the Vagabonds. 

" To your work, lads ! " cried Trouillefou. " Come — force 
the door ! " 

Nobody stirred a step. 

" Beard and belly ! " exclaimed Clopin ; " why, here are 
men afraid of a rafter ! " 

An old Vagabond now addressed him : 

" Captain, it's not the rafter we mind, 'tis the door. 
That's all covered with bars of iron. The picks are no good 
against it." 

"What do you want, then, to burst it open?" inquired 


" Why, we want a battering-ram." 

The King of Tunis ran boldly to the formidable piece of 
timber and set his foot on it. " Here's one ! " cried he, " and 
the reverend canons themselves have sent it you." Then, 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

making a mock salute to the Cathedral, " My thanks to you, 
canons ! " he added. 

This piece of bravado had excellent effect — the spell of 
the miraculous rafter was broken. The trnands plucked up 
their courage, and soon the heavy beam, lifted like a feather 
by two hundred vigorous arms, was driven furiously against 
the great door which they had already endeavoured in vain 
to loosen. Seen thus in the dim light cast over the Place 
by the scattered torches of the trnands, the vast beam borne 
along by that crowd of men and pointed against the church 
looked like some miraculous animal with innumerable legs 
charging head foremost at the stone giantess. 

As the beam struck the half-metal door it droned like an 
enormous drum. The door did not give, but the Cathedral 
shook from top to bottom, and rumbling echoes woke in its 
deepest depths. At the same moment a shower of great 
stones began to fall from the upper part of the fagade on to 
the assailants. 

" Diablc! " cried Jehan. " are the towers shaking down 
their balustrades upon us?" 

But the impulse had been given. The King of Tunis 
stuck to his assertion that it was the Bishop acting on the 
defensive, and they only battered the door the more furiously 
for the stones that fractured the skulls right and left. 

It was certainly curious that these stones fell one by one, 
but they followed quickly on one another. The Argotiers 
always felt two of them at once — one against their legs, the 
other on their heads. There were few that missed their mark, 
and already a heap of dead and wounded, bleeding and pant- 
ing, lay thick under the feet of the assailants, who, now 
grown furious, renewed their numbers every moment. The 
long beam continued to batter the door at regular intervals 
like the strokes of a bell, the stones to rain down, and the 
door to groan. 

The reader will doubtless have guessed ere this that the 
unexpected resistance which so exasperated the \^agabonds 
proceeded from Quasimodo. 

Accident had unfortunately favoured the devoted hunch- 
back. When he had descended to the platform between the 
towers, his ideas were in a state of chaos. He had run to 


An Awkward Friend 

and fro along the gallery for some minutes like one demented, 
looking down upon the compact mass of the beggars ready 
to rush the church, and calling upon God or the devil to 
save the gipsy girl. He thought of ascending the southern 
steeple and sounding the tocsin, but before he could have got 
the bell in motion, before the loud voice of Marie could have 
sent forth a single stroke, there would have been time to 
burst in the door ten times over. This was the instant at 
which the Vagabonds advanced with their lock-breaking 
instruments. What was to be done? 

Suddenly he recollected that masons had been at work all 
day repairing the wall, the wood-work, and the roofing of the 
southern tower. This was a flash of light to him. The wall 
was of stone, the roofing of lead, the rafters of wood, and so 
enormous and close-packed that it was called the forest. 

Quasimodo flew to this tower. The lower chambers in 
eflfect were full of building materials — piles of stone blocks, 
sheets of lead in rolls, bundles of laths, strong beams already 
shaped by the saw, several rubbish heaps — a complete arsenal. 

Time pressed — the levers and hammers were at work be- 
low. With a strength multiplied tenfold by the consciousness 
of danger, he lifted an end of one of the beams — the longest 
and heaviest of all. He managed to push it through one 
of the loopholes ; then, laying hold of it again outside the 
tower, he pushed it over the outer corner of the balustrade 
surrounding the platform and let it drop into the abyss below. 
in this fall of a hundred and sixty feet the enormous beam 
— grazing the wall and breaking the sculptured figures — 
turned several times on its own axis, like the sail of a wind^- 
mill going round of itself through space. Finally it reached 
the ground, a horrid cry went up, and the black piece of 
timber rebounded on the pavement, like a serpent rearing. 

Quasimodo saw the enemy scattered by the fall of the 
beam like ashes by the breath of a child ; and while they 
fixed their superstitious gaze on this immense log fallen from 
the skies, and were peppering the stone saints of the doorway 
with a volley of bolts and bullets, Quasimodo was silently 
piling up stones and rubbish, and even the masons' bags of 
tools, upon the edge of the balustrade from which he had 
already hurled the beam. 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

According^ly, no sooner did they begin to batter the door, 
than the showers of stone blocks began to fall, till they thought 
the church must be shaking itself to pieces on the top 
of them. 

Any one who could have seen Quasimodo at that moment 
would have been appalled. Besides the missiles which he 
had piled up on the balustrade, he had collected a heap of 
stones on the platform itself. As soon as the blocks of stones 
on the parapet were spent, he turned to this latter heap. He 
stooped, rose, stooped and rose again with incredible agility. 
He would thrust his great gnome's head over the balustrade ; 
then there dropped an enormous stone — then another and 
another. Now and then he followed a specially promising 
one with his eye, and when he saw that it killed its man, he 
grunted a " h'm ! "' of satisfaction. 

Nevertheless the beggars did not lose courage. Twenty 
times already had the massive door which they were so furi- 
ously storming shaken under the weight of their oaken bat- 
tering-ram, multiplied by the strength of a hundred men. 
The panels cracked, the carvings flew in splinters, the hinges 
at each shock danced upon their hooks, the planks were dis- 
placed, the wood smashed to atoms ground between the 
sheathings of iron. Fortunately for Quasimodo there was 
more iron than wood. 

He felt, however, that the great door was giving way. 
Although he could not hear it, every crash of the battering- 
ram shook him to his foundation, as it did the church. As he 
looked down upon the Vagabonds, full of exaltation and rage, 
shaking their fists at the gloomy and impassive facade, he 
coveted for himself and the gipsy girl the v/ings of the owls 
flitting away in terror over his head. 

His shower of stones was not sufficient to repulse the 

At this desperate moment his eye fell on two long stone 
rain-gutters which discharged themselves immediately over 
the great doorway, a little below the balustrade from whence 
he had been crushing the Argotiers. The internal orifice 
of these gutters was in the floor of the platform. An 
idea occurred to him. He ran and fetched a fagot from 
the little chamber he occupied, laid over the fagot several 


An Awkward Friend 

bundles of laths and rolls of lead — ammunition he had not 
yet made use of — and after placing this pile in position in 
front of the orifice of the gutters, he set fire to it with his 

During this lime, as the stones no longer fell, the triiands 
had ceased looking upward. The bandits, panting like a pack 
of hounds baying the wild boar in his lair, pressed tumultu- 
ously round the great door, disfigured now and injured by 
the great battering-ram, but still erect. They waited, eager 
and trembling, for the grand stroke — the blow that should 
bring it crashing down. Each strove to get nearest to be the 
first, when it should open, to rush into that opulent Cathedral, 
that vast repository in which the riches of three centuries 
were heaped up. They reminded one another with roars of 
exultation and rapacity of the splendid silver crosses, the fine 
brocade copes, the silver-gilt tombs, of all the magnificence 
of the choir, the dazzling display on high festivals, the Christ- 
mas illuminations, the Easter monstrances glittering like the 
sun, and all the splendid solemnities in which shrines, candle- 
sticks, pixes, tabernacles, and reliquaries crusted the altars 
with gold and diamonds. It is very certain that at this excit- 
ing moment every one of the truands was thinking much 
less about the deliverance of the gipsy girl than the plundering 
of Notre-Dame. Indeed, we can very well believe that to 
the majority of them Esmeralda was merely a pretext — if 
plunderers have any call for pretexts. 

Suddenly, at the moment when they were crowding round 
the battering-ram for a final effort, each one holding his breath 
and gathering up his muscles to give full force to the decisive 
blow, a howl more agonizing than that which succeeded the 
fall of the great beam arose from the midst of them. Those 
who were not screaming, those who were still alive, looked 
and saw two streams of molten lead pouring from the top 
of the edifice into the thickest of the crowd. The^ waves of 
that human sea had sunk under the boiling metal which, at 
the two points where it fell, had made two black and reeking 
hollows, like hot water poured on snow.. There lav dying, 
wretches burned almost to a cinder and moaning in agony : 
and besides the two principal streams, drops of this hideous 
rain fell from scattered points on to the assailants, penetrating 

/ 419 


Notre-Dame de Paris 

their skulls like fiery gimlets, pattering on them like red-hot 

The screams were heart-rending. Throwing down the 
battering-ram on the dead bodies, they fled in complete panic 
— the boldest with the most timid — and for a second time the 
Parvis was emptied. 

Every eye was now directed upward to the top of the 
church. They beheld an extraordinary sight. On the top- 
most gallery, higher up than the great rose-window, a huge 
flame ascended between the two steeples, throwing out whirl- 
winds of sparks and shooting tongues of fire into the smoke 
as it was caught by the wind. Below 'this flame, under the 
balustrade whose carved trefoils showed black against the 
glare, two gargoyles vomited incessantly that burning shower, 
the silvery stream of which shone out upon the darkness of 
the lower part of the facade. As they neared the ground the 
two streams of liquid lead spread out into a spray, like water 
from the rose of a monster watering-can. Above the flame, 
the huge towers, of each of which two sides sharply outlined — 
one black, the other glowing red — were visible, seemed more 
enormous still by the immensity of the shadow they cast 
upon the sky. Their myriad sculptured devils and dragons 
assumed a sinister aspect. In the flickering radiance of the 
fire they appeared to move — vampires grinned, gargoyles 
barked, salamanders blew the fire, grifiins sneezed in the 
smoke. And among these monsters, thus awakened from